Skip to main content

Full text of "Holston Methodism : from its origin to the present time"

See other formats






By R. N. PRICE. 

From the Year 1804 to the Year 1824. 

Nashville, Tenn., Dallas, Tex.: 

Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South. 

Smith & Lamar, Agents. 

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1906, 

By R. N. Price, 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 


By the favor and energy of the Holston preachers three 
thousand copies of Volume I. of "Holston Methodism" have 
been sold. Volume I. has paved the way for Volume II. 
The latter has over the former the merit of bringing the his- 
tory nearer to our times. The annals proper of this volume 
do not come further this way than 1824; but the volume is 
largely biographical, and many of the men sketched died in 
our times — instance, Samuel B. Harwell, who 'died in 1874. 
These sketches, therefore, make this volume somewhat 

I had hoped to get into this volume the sketches of String- 
field, Fulton, S. Patton, and Sevier ; but these must be de- 
ferred to Volume III. The sketches of these men necessarily 
introduce the subject of the rise and progress of the higher 
education in Holston, and notices of the controversies which 
agitated our people in the past — namely, the Arian, the Radi- 
cal, and the Calvinistic controversies. This fact will make 
Volume III. the most important and interesting of the series. 
Whether Volume III. shall ever see the light depends on 
whether the sale of Volume II. is sufficiently encouraging. 

I am not exclusively responsible for the delay in the is- 
suance of the present volume, as the committee advised a 
season of delay, and as for some reason the Publishing House 
has seen cause to add further delay; but I must credit the 
House with great care in the typesetting and the mechanical 
work generally. An ancient painter, being twitted with the 
tardiness of his work, replied : "I am painting for eternity." 
Let us hope that our tardiness will redound to the usefulness 
and permanency of the work. 

Our principal trouble is the financial question. A history 
so local and so denominational must necessarily be limited 
in its circulation, and the income from it must necessarily be 
meager; but I am willing to suffer want and embarrassment, 
it I may but rescue from oblivion the noble men and women 
who in the wilderness, amid savage beasts and more savage 



men, planted the Methodism which we now enjoy, and if, 
through these humble pages, I may but assist in reviving and 
maintaining the martyr spirit which actuated them. 

If genius, eloquence, abundant labors, sublime powers of 
endurance, dogged perseverance, a wonderful unselfishness, 
a quenchless, love of souls, and a burning zeal for God^s 
glory entitle men and women to historic recognition, then 
the men and women of Holston deserve to be commemorated. 

R. N. Price. 

Morristown, Tenn., June 25, 1906. 


John Adam Granade. Page. 

Admitted into the Western Conference — His Eccentrici- 
ties — His Autobiography; — Birth — Is a School-Teach- 
er — His Spiritual Troubles — Goes to Tennessee — Is 
Powerfully Converted — Begins to Exhort — Joins the 
Methodists — Is Authorized to Preach — Interrupts a 
Dancing Party — Loses His Way in the Mountains and 
Canebrakes — Receives Baptism — Is Admitted into the 
Western Conference — Is Appointed to Greene Circuit — 
Great Success — Is Appointed to Holston Circuit — Has 
Great Ingatherings — Takes Members of Gov. Sevier's 
Family into the Church — Is Transferred to New River 
Circuit — Preaches at John Carr's — Studies Latin — Is 
Appointed to Hinkstone Circuit, in Kentucky — Locates, 
Studies Medicine, and Marries — Dies — An Estimate of 
His Character I 


Sketches of Preachers. 

Nathan Jarratt — Jacob Young Admitted into the West- 
ern Conference — Appointed' to Wilderness Circuit — 
Travels ^Clinch Circuit — Passes the Wilderness — Bish- 
op Asbury Reproves a Swearer — Young's Unfavorable 
Account of the Inhabitants of Powell's Valley — His 
First Round on Clinch Circuit — His First Quarterly 
Meeting — His Birth and Parentage — His Conversion — 
Joins the Church — Enters Conference — His Death — 
Had Received the Degree of D.D. — Bishop Morris's 
Estimate of Him — James Douthit — Thomas L. Doug- 
lass — Is a Great Revivalist — Personal Description of 
Him — Samuel Douthit — His Birth — His Homes — Dr. 
Isaac Douthit — Dresses the Wounds of H. C. Neal 20 




Lorenzo and Peggy Dow. Pag . e . 

Dow's Birth and Parentage— Conversion— Applies Un- 
successfully for Admission into the New England Con- 
ference—Is Rejected the Second Time— Stevens's Un- 
favorable -Estimate of Dow— Finally Admitted— His 
First Circuit and His Great Usefulness Thereon— Ap- 
plies for Permission to Go to Sea for His Health; Re- 
quest Denied — Is Appointed to Essex Circuit — Leaves 
His Work and Goes to Europe — Returns and Is Ap- 
pointed to Duchess and Columbia Circuit — Visits Geor- 
gia — Dropped from the Roll of the Conference — 
Preaches in Knoxville — Preaches in Buncombe County, 
N. C. — Crosses the Alleghanies — Preaches at Newport — 
Witnesses the Jerks — Preaches at Sevierville — Preaches 
at Maryville — John Johnson and the Jerks — Dow Visits 
the Quakers — His Opinion of the Jerks — Visits Vir- 
ginia and Preaches in Various Parts of the Holston 
Section Thereof — His Numerous Namesakes — Anecdote 
of His Stopping at the House of Mr. Pogue, in Greene 
County, Tenn. — An Object Lesson of the Possibility of 
Falling from Grace — The Lady with a Red Shawl — 
Sermon at Reisterstown, Md. — Eccentric Conduct at 
Brookville, Ind. — Sermon and Eccentric Conduct at 
Covington, Ky. — Dow Simulates the Day of Judgment — 
A Personal Description of Dow — An Estimate — Peggy 
Dow — Dr, Anson West's Unfavorable Estimate of 
Dow — His Estimate Criticised — Too Much Red Tape — 
Dr. George G. Smith and Dow's Impressions — Jones, 
the Historian of Mississippi Methodism, on Dow — 
Dow's Labors in Mississippi — First Camp Meeting 
Southwest of Tennessee — Dow Cooperates with Jacob 
Young in Mississippi — Dow's Effectiveness as a Preach- 
er—Receives the Blessing of Sanctification— Nicholas 
Snethen and Dow 30, 



From 1804 to 1807 — Sketches of Preachers. p 

The Western Conference of 1805 — Numbers in Society 
on the Holston District — Admissions on Trial — Holston 
Appointments — The Bishops Pass through Holston — 
Asbury Complains of a Lack of Opportunity for Private 
Prayer — He' Complains of Moses Black for Marrying 
a Girl of Fifteen — The Bishops Stop with William Neil- 
son, and Breakfast with Rev. Mr. Newton — They Go to 
South Carolina — The Stubblefields at County Line — 
Conference of 1806 — Numbers in Society in Holston — 
Admissions on Trial — Holston Appointments — Asbury 
Enters Holston Country from the Valley of Virginia — 
Preaches at Mahanaim — Lodges with William Nel- 
son — Sermon in Memory of Bishop Whatcoat — The 
Bishop and His Companions Lost — Camp Meeting on 
Turkey Creek — Conference of 1807 — Numbers in So- 
ciety in Holston — Admissions on Trial — Appointments 
for Holston — The Bishop Passes through Holston to 
South Carolina — John Watson — Joab Watson — Wil- 
liam Ellington — Thomas Lasley — Sketch of Bishop 
Whatcoat — Ralph Lotspeich — George C. Light — John 
Crane 74 


Thomas and Sarah Wilkerson. 

Wilkerson's High Standing — His Fields — In the Presid- 
ing Eldership — Appointed to Abingdon Station — Birth — 
His Conversion — A Psychic Phenomenon — Enters the 
Traveling Connection — A Baptism of the Holy Ghost — 
He Passes the Wilderness — On Holston Circuit — Be- 
comes Connected with the Great Revival — He Locates 
and Marries — His Second Marriage — Sketch of Mrs. 
Wilkerson — William Williams and Sarah, His Wife, 
Profess Religion — Her Strong Attachment to Her Son- 
in-Law, Thomas Stringfield— Her Death— Mr. Wilker- 


son's Third Marriage— An Estimate of Mr. Wilker- 
son — He Passes the Wilderness Alone — He Preaches 
a Powerful Sermon at the General Conference — His 
Death — He Disposes of His Slaves by Will 9§ 


From 1807 to 1810 — Sketches of Preachers. 

General Conference of 1808 — Conference at Liberty Hill — 
Numbers in Society — Admissions on Trial — Holston 
Appointments — Two New Circuits — Nashville in 1808 — 
Bishop Asbury Visits Green Hill — A Regulation on 
Slavery — The Bishops Pass the Wilderness — Breakfast 
at West Point — They Evangelize South of the French 
Broad — Bishop Asbury at Buncombe C. H. — Confer- 
ence of 1809 — A Conference of Magnificent Distances — 
Numbers in Society in Holston — Admissions on Trial — 
Holston Appointments — Saltville — Asbury Passes 
through Holston — Henry Boehm — Read's Chapel — The 
Bishop Gives Composing Drops to Mr. Barnard in 
Buncombe County — Visits Asheville — The Late Heze- 
kiah Barnard and Wife — James Patton — Early Camp 
Grounds in Giles County, Va. — Conference of 1810 — 
Numbers in Society in Holston — Admissions on Trial — 
Holston Appointments — The Bishops Pass through 
Holston — Stop at Asheville — Thomas Milligan — Learner 
Blackman — Appointed to Russell Circuit — His Subse- 
quent Fields — Blackman's Opinion of Granade — Revises 
His Opinion of Western People — Goes to Natchez, 
Miss. — Becomes a Chaplain under Jackson — Mr. Black- 
man Described — His Studious Habits — His Marriage — 
His Tragic Death — Mrs. Blackman — Caleb McCloud — 
Miles Harper — Expelled from the Church — Returned 
to the Church without Contrition — Harper as a Preach- 
er — Isaac Lindsey — Is Murdered — Murderer Punished — 
James King — William Young — Moses Black — Anthony 
Senter 113 



From 1810 to 1813 — Sketches of Prominent Local 

Preachers. Page# 

Conference of 181 1 — The Conference Divided into Ohio 
and Tennessee Conferences — The Extent of Each — 
Numbers in Society in Holston — Admissions on Trial — 
Holston Appointments — Membership of the Whole 
Connection — Asbury Goes Direct to Georgia — Delegates 
from the Western Conference to the General Confer- 
ence of 1808 — The First Delegated General Conference, 
That of 1812 — The Delegates from the Western Con- 
ference — The Big Four — The Reunion at Nicewander's 
Meetinghouse — Robert W. Wynn — Job Crabtree — Wil- 
liam Garrett — Mrs. Garrett 146 


?rom 1810 to 1813 (Continued) — Sketches of Preachers. 

The First Session of the Tennessee Conference, 1812 — 
Membership of the Two Conferences, Ohio and Ten- 
nessee — The Holston Membership — Admissions on Trial 
— Holston Appointments — The Bishops Pass through 
Holston — The Second Session of the Tennessee Con- 
ference, 1813 — Numbers in Society in Holston District — 
Decrease in Membership and Its Causes — Admissions 
on Trial — Holston Appointments — Cumberland Circuit 
— Bishop Asbury Passes through Holston — Elisha Bow- 
man — The First Methodist Preacher That Preached in 
New Orleans — His Location — His Death — Jonathan 
Jackson — His Separation from the Church — Chreitzberg 
on Jackson — Thomas Trower — His Happy Death — John 
Brown — Samuel H. Thompson — Expelled for Selling a 
Slave — William B. Elgin — Several Times Elected Sec- 
retary of the Conference — Joins the Methodist Prot- 
estant Church — Why the Reform Movement Did Not 
Take Deep Root in Tennessee — Frederick Stier — Thom- 
as Heliums — His Partial Insanity and Death — Samuel 
Sellers — Practically a Bishop for Four Years — Jones's 
Notice of Sellers— The Foolish Habit of Holding the 


Hands to the Ears While Preaching— An Experience of 
Mrs. Rice under a Song of Sellers— Zachariah Witten— 
The Witten Family 166 


From 1813 to 1816. 

The Tennessee Conference of 1814 — Numbers in Society 
from Holston — Decrease — Admissions on Trial — The 
Question of Readmission — Holston Appointments — As- 
bury and McKendree Pass through Holston — An In- 
crease in the Local Ministry — The Local Ministry a 
Necessity — Legislation Invidious as to the Local Min- 
istry — Zion Society and Church — Lewis Anderson — 
James Gilliland — Abel Gilliland — Wesley Harrison — 
The Church in Holston at a Standstill — The Confer- 
ence of 1815 — Asbury's Last Visit to the West — The 
♦ Membership in the Whole Connection — Numbers in So- 
ciety in the Districts of the Conference — Numbers in 
Society in Holston — A Decrease — Sketch of Dr. Coke — 
The Vexed Question of Slavery — Its Mild and Patri- 
archal Nature — Action of the Conference in the Case of 
Levin Edney — The Slave Rule Expounded by the Con- 
ference — The Rule Declared Unconstitutional — A New 
Rule Adopted 192 


From 1813 to 1816 (Continued) — Sketches of Preachers. 

Conference of 1815 — Delegates to the General Conference 
— Tennessee Conference Divided, and Missouri and 
Mississippi Conferences Set Off — George and Roberts 
Elected Bishops — The Conference of 1816 — Numbers in 
Society in Holston — Admissions on Trial — Holston Ap- 
pointments — Death of Asbury — An Estimate of His 
Character — Sketch of His Life and Death — Great Strin- 
gency in Money Matters — John Travis — Selah Paine — 
Richard Richards — His Fall — Nicholas Talley — Thomas- 
Nixon — John Menefee — Daniel Asbury — His Marriage 
— His Death — The Man Described 218 

contents. xiii 


From 1816 to 1819 — Sketches of Preachers. Pa 

Conference of 1817 — The Adoption of a New Slave Rule 
— The Rule Treated Slavery as Not a Sin per sc — 
Hardy M. Cryer Tried under the Slave Rule — Admis- 
sions on Trial — Numbers in Society in Holston — Hol- 
ston Appointments — Stone Dam Camp Ground — Mrs. 
Millie Thomasson — Washington Henshaw — Dr. Brun- 
ner's Account of Stone Dam — Conference of 1818 — A 
Word about Nashville — The Vexed Question Sum- 
marily Disposed of — A Plan for the Catechetical In- 
struction of Children — "Assistant Preacher" Defined — 
Numbers in Society in Holston — Admissions on Trial 
— Holston Appointments — Conference of 1819 — A Bat- 
tle of the Radicals and Conservatives — A Protest of 
the Defeated Conservatives — Trial Cases in Reference 
to the Slave Rule in the Quarterly Conference of French 
Broad Circuit — Numbers in Society in Holston — In- 
crease in the Connection — Admissions on Trial — Read- 
missions — Holston Appointments — Delegates to the 
General Conference — John S. Ford — Thomas D. Porter 
— Allen Turner — Zechariah Mitchell — Amusing Anec- 
dote — A Great Funeral Preacher — Benjamin Edge — 
Jones's Estimate of Him — Isaac Quinn — Preaches to a 
Sleeping Congregation — Benjamin Peeples 240 


From 1819 to 1822 — Sketches of Preachers. 

The General Conference of 1820 — The Advocates of an 
Elective Presiding Eldership Prevail — Joshua Soule Re- 
fuses Ordination — The Operation of the Resolution Sus- 
pended — The Kentucky Conference Set Off — Confer- 
ence of 1820 — Numbers in Society in Holston — Large 
Increase in the Conference, the Result of Revival Wave 
— Holston Appointments — Thirty-One Preachers Ad- 
mitted on Trial — First Step of the Conference Toward 
the Organization of a Missionary Society — Steps Taken 


for the Establishment of a Conference Seminary of 
Learning— Bethel Academy— Clear Creek Camp Ground 
—John Haynie— A Notice of Haynie by Mrs. Cross— 
The First Methodist Church in Knoxville— Haynie 
Chaplain of the Texas Congress— Sulphur Spring Camp 
Ground— Mention of Many of the Campers by Rev. W. 
C. Graves— Conference of 1821— Two Preachers Who 
Had Swapped Circuits— The Methodist Church a Tem- 
perance Society — Numbers in Society in Holston — In- 
crease — Twenty-Six Admitted on Trial — Holston Ap- 
pointments — Conference of 1822— A Large Gain — 
Twenty-Nine Admitted on Trial— Holston Appoint- 
ments — Prosperity on Nollichucky Circuit — Clear Creek 
Camp Meeting — New Camp Grounds — George Locke — 
A Foolish Exposure and His Death — Thomas L. Wynn 
— Wiley B. Peck — His Relatives at Mossy Creek — Absa- 
lom Harris — Jesse Richardson — Interesting Stories of 
Him by Shipp 269 


The Rev. James Axley and His Times. 

A Rough Ashler — An Estimate of His Character — His 
Fields of Labor — Brushy Meetinghouse — Mrs. John 
Johnson's Recollections of Axley — His Marriage — 
Mention of Axley by N. H. Lee, D.D.— The First Meet- 
inghouse West of the Mississippi — His Tirades against 
Slavery — Sermon on the Abominations — Examination 
of a Tobacco Raiser and of a Distiller in Class Meet- 
ing — His Opposition to the Fashions — The Story of 
Benjamin Edge and His Gig — How Axley Got Out of 
a Whipping — A Colloquy between Axley and Bishop 
Morris — Sermon on Alexander the Coppersmith — The 
Finest Feelings Coupled with a Lack of Breeding — 
Judge White Reproved by Axley for Chewing Tobacco 
during Divine Service — McAnally's Description of the 
Man — A Notable Sermon by Axley at Cedar Springs 
Camp Ground — McAnally's Estimate of Axley as an 
Orator — A Talk in Love Feast — Axley Sings a Wei- 


come in a Louisiana Home — Axley Ends a Drought by 

the Prayer of Faith — Some of Axley's Mistakes — Some 

Anecdotes of Axley by Rev. James Sewell — His Last 

Days and Death 304 


From 1822 to 1824 — Sketches of Preachers. 

Conference of 1823 — Delegates to the General Conference 
— Numbers in Society in Holston — A Revival Wave in 
Holston — Mrs. Millie Thomasson Again — Admissions 
on Trial and Readmissions — Holston Appointments — 
The Tennessee Conference Divided — Holston Confer- 
ence Set Off — The Influence of Women in the Spread 
of the Gospel — The Wesleyan Female Society of Jones- 
boro — The First Session of Holston Conference, 1824 — 
Admissions on Trial — Locations — Appointments — A 
Historical Retrospect of Knoxville — The First News- 
paper in Tennessee — The First Meetinghouse in Knox- 
ville — Blount College and Its Successors — First Set- 
tlers in Knoxville — The "Red House" Where the Con- 
ference Was Held — Mrs. Woods, a Case of Longevity 
— Mrs. Mary Rockhold — Thomas Rockhold — John 
Tevis — Founder of Science Hill Academy — Sketch of 
Mrs. Tevis — Frances Smyth — Mrs. Tevis's First Dif- 
ficulty in the Schoolroom — Mrs. Tevis Becomes Govern- 
ess in the Family of Capt. Francis Smith — George V. 
Litchfield and Rachel D. Mitchell — Some of the Special 
Friends of Miss Hieronymus — Governor Windham 
Robertson — Mary's Meadows — The Story of the Con- 
version of Miss Hieronymus — Her Marriage — Her 
Career as Teacher — Thomas Maddin — His Rescue from 
Romanism — Samuel B. Harwell — Jesse Green — Manner 
of Making "Coffee" in His Day — A Winter Itinerary of 
Green and Fulton — Mr. Green's Death — An Estimate 
of His Character — John Dever — Arthur McClure — 
Notices of Three Colored Preachers, Joseph, Simon 
Rodgers, and Thomas 338 


Sketches of Preachers. Page# 

A New Era in Holston Methodism— John Henninger— 
His Fields of Labor — His Sickness and Death — His 
Character— Anecdote of a Homiletic Duel — "O that 
All My Sons Had Been Shon !" — Axley's Prayer of 
Faith for Henninger — Dr. C. D. Smith's Portrait of 
Henninger — Mrs. Henninger — Anecdote of Mr. Hen- 
ninger's Failure in the Pulpit — His Posterity — John 
Bowman — His Conversion — His Call to Preach — His 
Fields of Labor — His Liberal Bequests — Story of His 
Flogging the Children in a Certain Family — An Adroit 
Reproof — Bowman a Disciplinarian — Anecdotes of Bow- 
man by Dr. Brunner — Jesse Cunnyngham — His Fields 
of Labor — His Birth and Ancestry — George and Char- 
lotte Turnley — John Cunnyngham Turnley — Oak Grove 
— John Winton and His Posterity — Jesse Cunnyng- 
ham's Conversion — Enters the Traveling Connection — 
His Dreams and Visions — Travels a Hard District — 
His Marriage — His Character and Death — A Sketch of 
Mrs. Cunnyngham 381 


George Ekin and His Times. 

His Birth and Parentage — Awakened under Methodist 
Preaching — His Conversion and Licensure to Preach — 
"Land or No Land" — His Marriage — Removed to Amer- 
ica — Church Letter — Certificate of His License to 
Preach in America — Admitted into the Western Con- 
ference — His Fields of Labor — Certificate of His Au- 
thority to Celebrate the Rites of Matrimony — A Copy 
of His Naturalization Papers — His Success in Adding 
to the Membership of His Church — Phenomenal Suc- 
cess on Nollichucky Circuit — Success on Abingdon Cir- 
cuit—Trouble with the Presbyterians at Baker's Chapel 
—Founded Sunday Schools in Holston— "Little Hol- 
ston"— Ekin Antislavery but Not an Abolitionist— 



Ekin's Opposition to the Separation in 1845 — Letters of 
Eli K. Hutsell to Father Ekin Anent Separation — Let- 
ter from James St. Clair to Father Ekin — Adroit Let- 
ter to Father Ekin from Rev. William Hicks — An Esti- 
mate of Father Ekin as a Man and as a Preacher — His 
Opposition to Whiggery — Anecdotes — His Advice to 
the Students of E. & H. College — Reproofs Adminis- 
tered to Nonpraying Families — Could Not Eat a Frog 
for Conscience' Sake — "Billy, Have You Got Your 
Pistol?" — Two Torchlight Processions — "Come Out and 
Hear a Preacher Who Is All the Way from Ireland" — 
The Sister Who Shouted Badly— "Ye Would Wear Out 
the Patience of Your God'!" — "Is the Lord Going to 
Call All the Cummings to Prache?" — Prayer for a 
Drunken Man at the Mourners' Bench — The Baptist 
Bible — Suggested a Collection to Put Glass in the Win- 
dows — Nellie in the Well — A Dollar for Each White 
Convert and Seventy Cents for the Negro — The Ele- 
ments of Father Ekins' Power and Causes of His Suc- 
cess — Rev. William Garrett's Estimate of Ekin — A 
Temperance Speech in Knoxville — McFerrin's Opin- 
ion of Ekin — A Letter to Father Ekin from the Hon. 
W. C. Preston, of South Carolina — His Sudden Death, 
and the Place of His Grave 421 




Rev. Thomas Wilkerson \ Frontispiece 

An Old-Time Country Home in Holston n 

Rev. Jacob Young, D.D 23 

The Home of Rev. Samuel Douthit, M.D 36 

Lorenzo Dow 56 

Bishop Whatcoat 87 

The French Broad River in North Carolina Near the 

Tennessee Line 121 

Mount Mitchell, N. C, from Clingman's Dome 137 

Rev. John G. Cecil J52 

Thomas Coke, D.D., LL.D. 209 

The House Where Bishop Asbury Died 226 

Rev. Zechariah Mjtchell and His Wife, Elizabeth . . 262 

Father Haynie 280 

Old Times in Holston 318 

Mrs. Julia Ann v Hieronymus Tevis 356 

Rev. Jesse Cunnyngham 408 

Mrs. Mary Cunnyngham 416 

Rev. George Ekin 426 


John Adam Granade. 

John Adam Granade was admitted into the West- 
ern Conference on trial in 1801, received into full con- 
nection in 1803, and located in 1804. His fields were : 
1801, Greene; 1802, Holston-; 1803, Hinkstone. 

Few men with so brief an itinerant career in the 
Methodist Church have made so much history. He 
darted into our sky like a meteor, blazed with splendor 
for a short time, then disappeared, leaving a luminous 
trail behind. He was an eccentric man, but his ec- 
centricities were natural and inevitable. They were 
the eccentricities of unusually profound convictions 
of gospel verities, of awful apprehensions of the con- 
sequences of sin, and of a burning, all-consuming 
zeal for God and the salvation of men. There is a 
general disposition to look upon eccentricities as 
faults ; and they are, indeed, disgusting faults if cul- 
tivated and artificial. There is also a general dis- 
position to berate eccentric men. High offices in the 
Church are denied them, and they are placed in posi- 
tions below their talents and deserts. Yet it is a 
matter of fact that the very eccentricities which are 
so severely criticised, and which inure to their pres- 
ent disadvantage, segregate them from the common 
herd and point them out as conspicuous marks for 
historical recognition. The eccentricities of Lorenzo" 
Dow, Peter Cartwright, James Axley, Simon Peter 
Richardson, and the like have served only to trumpet 



abroad their real merits and to call attention to the 
heroic virtues that characterized them. 

No man ever did so much good in so short a time 
as John A. Granade. Fortunately for the Church, 
Granade wrote an autobiography. This biography is 
still in manuscript; but some of the most striking 
events in his Christian and ministerial career, as re- 
corded in this manuscript, have found their way into 

The Rev. Herve A. Granade, a grandson of John 
A. Granade, has furnished for publication certain ex- 
tracts from this journal, which I give substantially as 
follows : 

Granade's ancestors were from France. He was 
born near Newbern, Jones County, N. C, the precise 
date of his birth not known. By a very pious and in- 
telligent mother he was early taught the fear of God. 
At the age of thirteen, after a series of extraordinary 
exercises of mind, he embraced religion. He, how- 
ever, soon lapsed into sin, and devoted his poetic 
gifts and all his energies to the service of Satan. He 
says in his journal that he had spent as many as seven 
days and nights consecutively in dancing and frolick- 
ing ; but he had no relish for drinking, quarreling, and 
fighting. Becoming perfectly reckless, he rambled 
into Kentucky and the Cumberland country, return- 
ing in a few months to find that he had brought his 
mother's gray hairs in sorrow to the grave. Terri- 
fied by a guilty conscience, he left North Carolina and 
took up a school in South Carolina, near the line, 
where he was useful and popular as a teacher. 

President Adams proclaimed a national fast to be 
observed May 9, 1797, and Granade did not observe 


it because he was prejudiced against the administra- 
tion ; but, calling to mind that it was his own birthday, 
he regretted that he failed to observe the fast. On 
the 16th of the same month began that revolution in 
his mind to which he devoted much of the journal 
which was kept and left in manuscript. 

Reading in a newspaper of the difficulties between 
the United States and France, he burned with patri- 
otic zeal, and determined to enlist as a soldier in case 
of war. The thought of being a soldier, exposed to 
die hazards of battle, induced self-examination, and, 
finding himself unready to meet God in judgment, he 
was plunged into dreadful conflicts with Satan. So 
distressing was his agony, and so powerfully did the 
Spirit strive with him, that he became a gazingstock 
to the family with which he boarded, to his pupils, and 
to his wicked companions. Instead of loud threats 
and harsh rebukes in the schoolroom, he now spoke 
only words of love and sympathy; the brow of brass 
was covered with shame ; his face was bedewed with 
tears. Ashamed to weep in the presence of his pupils, 
he fled to the woods ; and as he went a powerful sen- 
sation of the sufferings of Christ filled his mind. He 
felt that he had joined in with the Jewish rabble, cry- 
ing: "Crucify him, crucify him !" While thus buffeted 
by Satan, and longing for advice from some Christian 
friend, a Mr. Pace, a justice of the peace of Anson 
County, N. C, living just across the line, and a Meth- 
odist, came by. Granade called him and unfolded to 
him the troubles of his stricken heart. Mr. Pace 
carried him to Mr. Hill, a local Methodist preacher, 
and they took great pains to aid him by advice and 
prayer. Determined to take every advantage of the 


devil, he burned his cards, cut the ruffles from his 
shirt with his penknife, and had his hair, of which he 
had been proud, polled. He began to attend the 
meetings of the Methodists, and sought every op- 
portunity to avail himself of their prayers and coun- 
sels. His distress was so great that he gave up his 
school and set out for Georgia in company with the 
family of a brother-in-law. Before leaving Carolina, 
the Universalists attempted to induce him to travel 
and preach in support of their system, which he had 
sometime previously embraced. But they found him 
crying to God for mercy. He told them that he now 
renounced a poem which he had composed in the in- 
terest of Universalism, and which they had published, 
and he denounced the whole system of "Restoration" 
as a stratagem of the devil to bring souls to eternal 
ruin. The party went to Augusta, Ga. ; but, instead of 
remaining there, they journeyed to Tennessee. On 
this tiresome journey Mr. Granade went to God in 
secret prayer four times a day. At length they 
reached Sumner County, Tenn. At his first oppor- 
tunity Mr. Granade attended a class meeting there, 
and cast in his lot with the people called Methodists. 
He stood up in the congregation and exhorted the 
people. In a few days he had the good fortune to 
meet William Burke, who was then in charge of Cum- 
berland Circuit. He rode with him and told him of 
his spiritual troubles, and Mr. Burke exhorted him to 
press forward till he should find peace. He accom- 
panied John McGee next day to hear Mr. Burke 
preach, and Mr. McGee's account of his conversion 
so filled him with distress that Burke's sermon 
seemed to do him very little good. That evening he 


returned to his camp determined not to rest till he 
found the pearl of great price. At this time there was 
a little star of hope that shone in his moral sky, as 
a light in a dark place. He was sometimes in de- 
spair, and sometimes hopeful ; sometimes he could see 
in his mind congregations before him, and himself 
preaching to them with great earnestness. But Satan 
continued his assaults upon him ; and he was driven 
to the woods, and resolved not to return till God had 
sent deliverance. He entered a cleft in a rock on the 
bank of Goose Creek, that his loud prayers and lam- 
entations might not be heard for the noise of the 
rushing waters. He felt as if he were rowing up a 
stream, the wind, the Spirit of God, being in his 
favor, and that if he ceased to ply either oar, faith or 
prayer, he would go downstream immediately. The 
two oars acting in concert, he made headway. After 
returning to camp, his sister stood by him singing, 
when the glory of God broke in upon him, sweeter 
than honey or the honeycomb. 

This blessing, however, was only temporary; the 
honey soon turned to gall ; after the close of this 
bright day he spent a terrible, sleepless night in the 
wagon and in the woods, and in the morning it ap- 
peared as if Satan had turned loose all his fiendish 
might upon his soul. These words rang in his ears 
continually : ''Your damnation is sealed ; your day of 
grace is past ; the wrath of God is upon you ; you are 
a vessel of wrath ; and the devil can be as readily 
saved as you." He verily believed that the wrath of 
God was being poured out on him. A burning flame 
ran through his whole being, attended with a dreadful 
sense of the torments of hell. Tormenting voices 


followed him at times for two years ; and as he turned 
quickly from side to side to avoid the tormenting 
whisperers, the people looked at him with amazement. 
He rambled here and there with an anguish that no 
tongue could express. The pains of hell got hold 
upon him. He was seized with a burning in his 
stomach, and a fainting sickness ; and so strange were 
his feelings and exercises that his friends feared that 
he was losing his reason. When he went to bed at 
night, he was afraid to close his eyes, lest he should 
wake up in hell. Under the most unusual and ex- 
cruciating terrors of mind and bodily distress, he suf- 
fered for two years. 

At the request of Mr. Burke, Granade spent four 
weeks on the circuit; and this good man and his wife, 
who traveled in company with him, did all they could 
to console him. The winter of 1797 and the spring of 
1798 were spent in the woods. Day and night, 
through snow and rain, he went about howling, pray- 
ing, and roaring in such a manner that he was gen- 
erally reputed to be crazy. Satan tempted him to 
believe that he was deranged, and that he had lost his 
poetic talent. To test the matter, he composed his 
first spiritual poem, which consisted of eighteen 
verses, without halting or difficulty. The school chil-' 
dren — for he was teaching again — liked it so much that 
they sang it at the close of the school. Mr. Granade 
continued to teach among the Wynns, Babbs, and 
Stulls during the year 1799. As schoolbooks were 
scarce, the Epistles of Paul were used in teaching- 
elocution. The speeches selected from these Scrip- 
tures, when recited, produced a powerful impression 
on the teacher's mind. Although he feared that he 


was a hopeless reprobate himself, he was anxious for 
the salvation of others ; and he occasionally took his 
whole school to hear the Rev. William McGee, a 
Presbyterian minister. He also went to hear the 
Rev. Green Hill, and attended class meeting, where 
occasionally a slight ray of hope would flash upon his 
gloomy spirit. We here meet with the name of the 
Presbyterian preacher who accompanied his brother 
John McGee to Kentucky, and preached at the meet- 
ing at which the revival of 1800 began. Also we meet 
with the name of the local preacher at whose house 
the first Conference in North Carolina was held. He 
had moved to Middle Tennessee, and was still active 
in the work of saving souls. 

A great union meeting between the Presbyterians 
and Methodists had been appointed. Mr. Granade 
dreamed two nights before the beginning of the meet- 
ing that he was at it surrounded by God's people, that 
he was there delivered from all his spiritual troubles, 
and he resolved to attend. His account in his journal, 
of the impression made on his mind by the first sight of 
the three thousand persons encamped on the ground 
is interesting. When he arrived, William Lambuth 
was preaching on "And yet I show unto you a more 
excellent way." Granade drank in every word. He 
listened eagerly and attentively to the sermon which 
followed by the Rev. John Rankin, a Presbyterian. 
When the minister came to the words, "The wind 
bloweth where it listeth ; . . . so is every one that 
is born of the Spirit," that very moment heaven, which 
he had thought was forever sealed against him, was 
opened ; the power of God as a rushing mighty wind 
descended from heaven and filled his whole being. 


He began to whisper these words, "Adoration to God 
and the Lamb !" and as he repeated them the power 
increased, the heavens, the earth, and everything in 
a moment put on a new aspect. He could hold his 
peace no longer, but cried out: "Glory to God! 
Glory and adoration to God and the Lamb forever !" 
Streams of glory divine poured in upon him, and he 
went all over the encampment till midnight, praising 
the God who had brought him such wonderful de- 
liverance. This attracted great attention, for he was 
noted among the masses as a wicked poet, who had 
used his gifts for the ridicule of religion and the pro- 
motion of unbelief, and for two years had been re- 
ported in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Geor- 
gia, and Kentucky as the "wild man," and, indeed, 
he was the wonder in these sections at that day. 
Great was the joy among the people when this 
"second Lazarus," as he called himself, was raised. 
He next partook of the Lord's Supper with the con- 
gregation, and, giving himself in a solemn vow to 
God, he arose and began to exhort the people. In 
a few moments sinners fell screaming on every side. 
Then followed a scene of indescribable power and 
glory, in which the happy man continued praising 
God, shouting and exhorting the people all night and 
a great part of the next day. 'He went forth from this 
scene of victory preaching the word of God. Many 
of his pupils and ungodly neighbors were, under his 
preaching, brought to realize in their own hearts the 
saving power of God. Even those who had set them- 
selves against this "madness," as they called it, were 
swept before it like grass before a prairie fire. At 
his first effort at preaching five souls were wonder- 


fully converted, and such shouting and praising of 
God were never witnessed in that country before. He 
soon gave up his school, and went from settlement 
to settlement warning the people, God attending his 
word in power everywhere. 

Mr. Granade at this time knew scarcely anything 
of the system of Methodism. One thing he did know : 
that the people called Methodists were most intoler- 
ably persecuted everywhere, but he was glad to cast 
in his lot with them. He went to a quarterly meet- 
ing where he met with Bishops Asbury and Whatcoat, 
to whom he gave his consent to enter the traveling 
ministry. He was directed to Cumberland Circuit, to 
join another young man, Benjamin Young. On his 
way to his first appointment he was powerfully 
wrought on by the Spirit, and his limbs were so dis- 
torted that he could hardly ride. He visited his old 
neighborhood on Barton's Creek, and as he went 
from house to house God attended his strange ex- 
hortations with power, and many souls were saved. 
Having received permission from the Rev. Mr. Page 
to go and preach where he liked, and having resolved, 
by God's help, to attack the hosts of Satan wherever 
he might encounter them, he took the great country 
road leading to Nashville, and at dramshops and tav- 
erns, where rowdies were accustomed to engage in 
bacchanalian orgies, he went right in and, filled with 
the Spirit of God, warned them of their danger. 
Some cried for mercy and found peace ; others went 
off furious and blaspheming. On his way he heard 
of a ball, and at once resolved to go and meet the ene- 
my on his own field. He reached the place and, being 
invited in, found that the company were drinking, 


swearing, and huzzaing like loons. He went up to 
the musician and, gently stroking him on his head, 
asked him if he would not stop playing for fifteen 
minutes. The fiddler swore at him and kept on play-, 
ing. At that moment the glory of God as a mighty 
stream of fire flashed all over him, and his face burned 
with the holy flame. He took a book out of his 
pocket, and striking it violently with his hand he 
thundered out upon the revelers. The dancers were 
so frightened that they did not know whether they 
were dancing a reel or a jig, or something else. A 
fright ran all over the house. Mr. Fury (so Granade 
names him), one of the bulls of Bashan, ran at him, 
and landed him on the doorstep. He stepped into 
the yard, and the crowd without and from within sur- 
rounded him like a swarm of angry bees. Hell was 
troubled and threw up angry billows ; but God was 
with him, and he thundered away on his astonished 
hearers on every hand. Some said he was a hypo- 
crite, some said he was a good man, some said he was 
crazy or drunk, while another thought he would be 
a better fighter than preacher. He told them that 
Jesus Christ had shed his blood for them, and that if 
they did not repent of their sins and quit frolicking 
they would all go to hell. A bold orator of the devil 
said that, if there was such a man as Jesus Christ, and 
he had done so much for him, he was much obliged 
to him; but that he thought Thomas Paine a greater 
man than Jesns Christ, and would stand on the right 
hand of God in the day of judgment like a game cock. 
While uttering these blasphemous words the speaker, 
was wildly leaping and huzzaing. Granade left them 
and went on his way rejoicing. It was a remarkable 















day to him. As he rode along the glory of the Lord 
came down upon him and constrained him to praise 
God aloud for half a mile. What he saw and felt, he 
says, no mortal tongue could tell, God was so near to 
him ! It was the practice of this intrepid hero to at- 
tack every person he met on the road, if he had the 
least opportunity ; and by this course he warned many 
a poor sinner, and found out many of God's people, 
whom he would never have known as such if he had 
gone on silently. The world and even some pro- 
fessors of religion thought him cracked ; but God 
blessed him in the practice, and thus caused him to 
persevere in it. 

In the work of forming a new circuit in that section 
he had a very disagreeable adventure. One night he 
was bewildered in the mountains ; thick canebrakes 
matted the valleys ; snow was falling rapidly, and it 
was very cold. His account of this dreadful night 
spent only with his horse and his Saviour, as he forced 
his way through the tall, thick cane covered with snow 
and over the icy mountains, is truly appalling. He 
labored hard and successfully on this frontier work. 
He made the mountains, woods, and canebrakes ring 
louder with his shouts of praise to God than he once 
did with his howling lamentations. Of his experience 
at this time, he says: "Though it may be hard for some 
to believe, yet I declare the truth in Christ and lie not, 
and am giving only a faint sketch of my happiness, 
when I say that I never fell on my knees in secret but 
the Lord so poured out his power that I shouted 
aloud. Sometimes I shouted for two or three hours, 
and even fainted under the hand of the Lord. I was 
ready to cry out at the name of Jesus; and what I 


saw by faith and felt by sweet communion with God 
I was afraid to relate to my best friend. The bright- 
ness of heaven rested continually upon my soul, so 
that I was often prevented from sleeping, eating, read- 
ing, writing, or preaching. I would sing a song or 
pray or exhort a few minutes, and the fire would break 
out among the people, and the slain of the Lord every- 
where were many. I have spent nine nights out 
of ten (besides my day meetings and long, hard rides) 
until midnight with the slain of the Lord. Thus I went 
on, regardless of my life. Many precious souls were 
converted in a few weeks. I went by the name of 
the 'distracted preacher,' but I cared not for this." 

At a union meeting between the Presbyterians and 
Methodists the preachers persuaded Mr. Granade to 
be baptized, for he had never received the ordinance. 
He told them that he cared but little about it, but 
that 1,1 e would ask the Lord about it. Standing up in 
the pulpit with his back to the people, he prayed, and 
he says : "The Lord answered by fire, and I stood and 
shouted with all my strength for fifteen minutes. I 
got some water, and Brother Page and Brother 
Hodge (a Presbyterian preacher whom my soul 
loved) and Brother John McGee went with me in 
secret before the Lord. We all kneeled ; Brother 
McGee prayed and poured the water on my head, 
and God poured his heavenly showers on my soul and 
body, which was enough for me though all the world 
condemned the baptism." 

It was now 1801, and Mr. Granade attended a quar- 
terly meeting, at which he was recommended for 
admission into the Western Conference, to be held 
in Greene County, Term. Lie set out for the Confer- 


ence with Brother Page, Brother Hodge, brother to 
the Presbyterian minister by that name, and two 
young men. They slept on the ground at night and 
heard the howlings of the furious wolves. They 
passed by West Point (Kingston) and through Grassy 
Valley to.Sterns's and John Winton's, where they had 
a glorious meeting; thence they rode to Vanpelt's, 
and thence to Ebenezer, the seat of the Conference. 

The Conference was held in a spacious upper room 
at the house of Felix Earnest. Bishop Asbury pre- 
sided, assisted by Nicholas Snethen, William McKen- 
dree, and many elders, deacons, and preachers. On 
Sunday, at the sacrament, great power was felt ; 
twenty souls were converted. Granade was greatly 
excited, and it was soon known that the "wild man'' 
was at the Conference. He excited great curiosity, 
which, however, he did not regard. His recom- 
mendation was received, and while he was downstairs, 
and his case was being considered, a collection was 
taken up in the Conference. When he came in, Bish- 
op Asbury said to him: "We are raising money for a 
destitute preacher; how much will you give?" Tak- 
ing out his purse, Granade gave it to the Bishop, say- 
ing: "I have two dollars; take as much of it as you 
want." The Bishop, putting his money and purse 
with the collected money, handed it to the astonished 
and overjoyed Granade, and, embracing him affection- 
ately, informed him that he was received into the 
Conference. The Bishop and all the brethren were 
exceedingly kind to him. 

The Conference at which he was admitted was held 
in October. He was appointed to Greene Circuit 
with Moses Floyd. He at once began on Pigeon 


River, and at every meeting there were great out- 
pourings and from one to ten conversions. The news 
that the "wild man" was preaching brought the peo- 
ple from many miles in great crowds. Many went 
with him from place to place, and as they went they 
would alarm the natives with singing and shouting all 
along the road. Persecution soon began to rage. 
Some said Granade had some kind of powder to throw 
over the people ; some said he had some secret trick 
by which he threw them down ; but on he went, dis- 
regarding the threats of mobbing that met him every- 
where. One day, on his way to preach at Tucker's, 
he asked the Lord to give him twenty souls that day, 
and he received thirty into Society. He was sent for 
to go to Holston Circuit, and it was said that two 
or three thousand people were at the place (Cashe's 
Meetinghouse), and great power attended his preach- 
ing from the first chapter of Ezekiel. He also went 
to Knoxville, by invitation, and was treated with sin- 
gular kindness by Gen. White and others ; and here 
also he received many members. 

It is claimed that Mr. Granade took into the 
Church, while on Greene Circuit, between five hun- 
dred and six hundred members. Although a peti- 
tion for his return, signed by two thousand names, 
was sent to the bishop, he was in 1802 transferred to 
the Holston Circuit, and associated with Thomas Mil- 
ligan. There on the first round he brought in one 
hundred new members, and by the fifth round he had 
received five hundred. They built stands for him in 
the woods all round the circuit, for no house would 
hold the crowds that flocked to hear him. On one 
occasion they put him up in a wagon to preach, when 


he took for his text "A wheel in the middle of a 
wheel" (Ezek. i. 16) ; and the people fell all around 
the wagon and under it, and wonders were wrought. 

Granade in his journal speaks of a meeting at Mc- 
Kee's, near Gov. Sevier's, which lasted all night. 
Five of Gov. Sevier's family were at that meeting 
converted and received into the Church. He went 
to Jonesboro, where some lewd men of the baser sort 
had sworn that he should not preach. When he rode 
into the town, an awful storm of wind, thunder, light- 
ning, and rain was prevailing. He made his way to 
the courthouse, and spoke to a great crowd of wonder- 
struck hearers, from "And he will be a wild man." 
(Gen. xvi. 12.) Many were convicted and some con- 
verted. At Easeley's, on Horse Creek, the people 
fell as Dagon before the ark, and lay in such heaps 
that it was feared they would suffocate, and that in 
the woods. 

After a number of great camp meetings on Holston 
Circuit, Granade was transferred to New River Cir- 
cuit. His journal speaks of his appointment to this 
circuit ; and as it is not likely that he was mistaken, 
it is evident that he did not complete the year on 
Holston Circuit, but was transferred in the winter or 
spring to New River. He says he went to this field 
through snow and storm. His first appointment was 
at John Carr's, on Walker's Creek, in what he calls 
"a rough, stony region." John Carr, was the grand- 
father of the Rev. Daniel H. Carr, at present a mem- 
ber of the Holston Conference, and one of our most 
pious and persevering preachers. John Carr's wife 
was a member of the first Society organized west of 
New River. This Society was in Montgomery (now 


Pulaski) County. New River Circuit was a large and 
laborious work. Granade's account of his labors 
among the rude and wicked inhabitants of this new 
and sparsely settled country, and of the wonderful 
manifestations of divine power which everywhere at- 
tended his singular preaching, is very interesting. Here 
he studied Latin, wrote much, and received many into 
the Church. He was appointed to Hinkstone Cir- 
cuit, in Kentucky, in 1803, and this was his last work 
as a traveling preacher. His excessive labors and 
much exposure brought on a breast disease that ren- 
dered his location necessary. After his location he 
studied medicine under the celebrated Dr. Hinde, near 
Lexington, Ky., and, returning to Wilson County, 
Tenn., he married Miss Polly Wynn in 1805. His 
pious wife, who completed his journal after his death, 
says : "He continued to preach when able ; the Bible 
was his constant companion; he enjoyed perfect love. 
On December 6, 1807, full of peace, he passed away. 
His last words were : 'Glory to God and the Lamb for- 
ever !' "i 

Granade was a remarkable man of a remarkable 
period. His conviction and conversion were contem- 
poraneous with the outburst of the great revival. 
While he was seeking God's favor, his mind was evi- 
dently more or less morbid. But he was a real sin- 
ner, his convictions were real, the Spirit of God was 
really striving with him ; and in his extraordinary 
mental troubles he was really in process of prepara- 
tion for the extraordinary work which he accom- 

1 Letter of Rev. Herve Granade, in "Methodism in Tennes- 
see," Vol. I , pp. 383-407. 



plished afterwards. When God has a work to do, he 
prepares the proper instruments for it. Conversion 
never goes deeper than conviction. The crop does 
not usually send its roots farther down than the plow 
has gone. He that is forgiven much loves much. 
Extraordinary struggles in seeking a change of heart 
usually insure a powerful conversion and a bright 
evidence of the same. The doctrine of endless pun- 
ishment, which Granade embraced after his renuncia- 
tion of Universalism, tinged his convictions with a 
remarkable melancholy. This same doctrine, united 
with views of infinite mercy, gave his zeal in saving 
souls a wonderful boldness and intensity. 

The infinite strategy of the God of battles can be 
contemplated only with adoring wonder. When the 
great battle of 1800 was to be joined, it was no acci- 
dent, but a wise provision of Providence, that such 
men as Page, Burke, McKendree, Wilkerson, the 
McGees, Hodge, Rankin, McGready, and Garrett 
were at their posts along the firing line, and that Gra- 
nade, like a Marion or Mosby, was thrust into the 
work at the right niche of time. 

Granade's methods would have been in ordinary 
times impertinent and ineffective, but there was a 
sound of a going in the mulberry trees when he 
made his assaults upon the works of the devil. An 
extraordinary interest, awakened by the Spirit of God 
in the minds of the people, demanded and justified 
extraordinary measures. The conditions within and 
the efforts without were in harmony. 

It is not strange that such extraordinary zeal as he 
possessed should have run into extravagance. It did, 
and at one time he assumed the role of prophet ; but, 


his prophecy signally failing to come to pass, he was 
suspended from the functions of the ministry for about 
three months, but allowed to hold meetings and ex- 
hort ; and it is said that no period of his life was - so 
crowned with success in saving souls as this. This 
suspension, however, occurred before he was admitted 
into the traveling connection. 


From 1801 to 1804 — Sketches o^ Preachers. 

Nathan Jarratt never traveled in the original 
Holston country, and was never a member of the 
Western Conference; but at one time he labored in 
Buncombe County, which was subsequently included 
in the Holston Conference, and therefore deserves 
mention in this history. He was admitted in 1799, 
and died October 28, 1803. He traveled Swannanoa 
Circuit 1799-1800. He traveled Wilmington arid 
Bertie Circuits, in North Carolina, the two following 
years; in 1802 he was appointed to the Bedford Cir- 
cuit, in Virginia. His last appointment (1803) was 
Williamsburg and Hanover, in the same State. These 
appointments would indicate that he was a man of 
superior ability and promise. His life was a vapor 
that appeared for a little while and then vanished 
away. But 

"What though short thy date? 
Virtue, not rolling suns, the mind matures; 
That life is long which answers life's great end. 

The man of wisdom is the man of years." 

Jacob Young was admitted on trial into the Western 
Conference in 1802. He labored only one year in 
Holston (1803-04). Although the Minutes represent 
him as appointed to Wilderness Circuit, he traveled the 
whole year on Clinch Circuit. The arrangement was 

FROM l8oi TO 1804. 21 

that he was to travel on Clinch till spring, when his 
place on that circuit was to be supplied, and he was 
to form a circuit in the Wilderness between the better 
settled parts of Kentucky and East Tennessee. Jacob 
Watson was in charge of Clinch Circuit, and Mr. 
Young was more than willing to attempt the formation 
of the new circuit, after cooperating with Mr. Watson 
for the first six months of the ecclesiastical year. But 
the presiding elder, John Watson, assumed the respon- 
sibility of retaining Mr. Young on Clinch Circuit, 
where he and his colleague were very useful. 

The following is, in substance, the account which 
Dr. Young gives of his journey from the seat of the 
Conference at Mount Gerizim, Ky., to Clinch Circuit, 
and his labors, experiences, and observations while on 
it. He bade his loving friends a long farewell, and 
started in company with Samuel Douthit. He spent 
the night in Lexington, tried to preach, but was bound 
' in spirit. All preachers who rely on the aid of the 
Holy Spirit know what this means. This was really 
his first dark time in two years. He attributes his 
failure on this occasion to the fact that his success in 
preaching at the Conference had elated him, and that 
the Spirit was measurably withdrawn from him to let 
him realize his own weakness. Solomon was right 
when he said: "Pride goeth before destruction, and 
a haughty spirit before a fall." An anecdote is told 
of a young preacher who, on a certain occasion, en- 
tered the pulpit full of self-confidence, began the exer- 
cises in a pompous manner, but made a disgraceful 
failure in his effort to preach. When the services were 
over he came out of the pulpit much crestfallen, and 
confessed to an old minister that he was very much 


mortified; whereupon the old minister said to him, 
"If you had entered the pulpit in the same spirit in 
which you came out of it, you might have come out of 
it in the same spirit in which you went into it." 

Dr. Young joined Bishop Asbury at Richmond, Ky., 
and the preachers passed through what Dr. Young 
names the "Crab Orchard Wilderness," the Bishop be- 
ing in feeble health. At their stopping place in the 
Wilderness they fell in with rowdy company at the 
tavern who were drinking freely, using profane lan- 
guage, and playing cards. The landlord had the kind- 
ness to give the preachers a room to themselves. An 
old Englishman came into the room and talked freely 
with the Bishop on the subject of religion; he was 
garrulous, but did not greatly interest the Bishop. 
He said that he had long been a seeker of religion, 
had never found it, but that he had succeeded in one 
thing: a Baptist minister had broken him from swear- 
ing. He finally left the preachers and returned to 
his gambling company, where he soon began to talk 
loudly and to swear profanely. The Bishop, recog- 
nizing his voice, arose, opened the door, looked in, and 
said: "You told me that a certain Baptist preacher 
had broken you from profane swearing, and now I 
find you can lie and swear both !" The rowdies quailed 
under the reproof, and the Englishman came to him 
saying: "Ah, Bishop, pardon me, if you please, sir!" 
The Bishop replied that he had better ask pardon of 
God, gave him suitable instruction, and left him. The 
house then became quiet. The Bishop's bombshell had 
silenced the batteries of the enemy. After supper the 
entire company were called into the room occupied by 
the preachers, and the Bishop read a chapter, gave a 

FROM 1 80 1 TO 1804. 23 

short lecture, sang a hymn, and prayed. In the morn- 
ing the landlord came in with a bottle and glass and 
asked the Bishop to take a drink ; he replied, "I make 
no use of the devil's tea." That night they lodged 
with a Mr. Ballinger, who was a real gentleman and 


his wife a lady. Mr. Ballinger expressed a desire to 
have a circuit formed in that part of the country, and 
after getting the consent of Dr. Young to undertake 
the task, the Bishop promised to try to accommodate 
him. The cause of Dr. Young's failure to carry out 
the plan has already been mentioned. The party 


parted at Cumberland Gap, the Bishop and Mr. Dou- 
thit taking the North Carolina road and Dr. Young 
proceeding to Powell's Valley. The Bishop's parting 
words to Dr. Young were : "Pray as often as you eat 
and sleep, and you will do well." At the end of the 
day's ride Dr. Young put up at a public house. The 
landlord appeared to be a decent man ; but Dr. Young 
soon found that the house was a place of dancing, 
gambling, and drinking. At bedtime the landlord 
brought his family Bible and proposed worship. Dr. 
Young remarks : 

The inhabitants of this valley were, for the most part, des- 
perate characters. They dressed alike and„ looked alike, so 
that if a person of observation had met one of them in New 
York he would have known he belonged to Powell's Val- 
ley. They wore hunting shirts, leather belt around .the waist, 
shot pouch, powder horn, rifle gun, and a big dog following 
closely behind. It is said that they watched the road leading 
from old Virginia to Kentucky, and when they saw emigrants 
going on to the above-named place they changed their cos- 
tume, dressed like Indians, by a near route through the moun- 
tains passed ahead of the travelers, watched them till they 
pitched their tents and were all asleep, then fell upon them, 
murdered them, and took their money. 

I will here give one case which will illustrate all the rest. 
There is a spot in that wilderness known by the name of Hazel 
Patch, where travelers stop at night. At a certain time — date 
I do not recollect — a large company of wealthy Virginians 
started for Kentucky to buy and take up lands They were 
well armed and equipped to defend themselves, put up at the 
place, pitched their tents, placed their sentinels, and went to 
sleep. Sometime in the night they were attacked by a party 
of, as they thought, Indians; it was generally thought . they 
were Powell's Valley men. The Virginians defended them- 
selves in a masterly manner. It was said that the conflict was 
long and severe; but the Virginians were all killed with the 
exception of one, and many thought he turned traitor. Two 

FROM l80I TO 1804. 25 

facts led the public mind to this conclusion : First, he was very 
poor when he joined the company; after that he became 
wealthy, buying farm after farm ; secondly, he could give no 
rational account of his escape. He said when the Indians had 
killed all the rest he walked off quietly, and they let him alone. 
I felt as a stranger in a strange land. I had to travel one 
hundred miles among these people, and I looked back with 
mournful joy and pleasant grief on the good circuit I had 
left behind. I had some imperfect knowledge of what I had 
passed through, but what lay before me I knew not. I arose 
very early, and before daylight I was on my way; ate but little, 
slept but little till I arrived at my circuit, on Saturday about 
noon. j. 

Dr. Young's remarks about the inhabitants of Pow- 
ell's Valley, as quoted in the above extract, are rather 
severe, indeed evidently overwrought. There were, 
no doubt, desperate men in Powell's Valley as well as 
elsewhere in the mountainous portions of Virginia and 
Tennessee at that time ; and the passes of the Cumber- 
land Mountains were for a long time infested with 
highway robbers; but the bulk of the population of 
Powell's Valley were always honest and peace-loving 
citizens. The lands, being of superior quality, were 
bought up by the better class of men at an early day. 
The people of the valley have kept pace with the prog- 
ress of education, civilization, and refinement in the 
country at large, and at the present day it is the home 
of wealth, refinement, and good morals ; especially is it 
a favorite home of Methodism, and that of a high type. 

Dr. Young rode into Rye Cove, which took its name 
from the abundance of wild rye growing there. He 
put up with Esquire Gibson, a man of intelligence, 
"piety, and sociability. His circuit was an odd-shaped 
concern, lying between Cumberland and Clinch Moun- 
tains, upward of a hundred and fifty miles long and 


about twenty-five miles wide. On the plan there were 
about thirty appointments. At Stallard's, at the ford 
of Clinch, he found trouble on hand. Two local 
preachers had been expelled, and were making fearful 
inroads on the Society. He next went to Moccasin 
Gap, and was struck with the natural curiosity of 
Moccasin Creek flowing right through Clinch Moun- 
tain. And this it does ; it rises north of the mountain, 
passes through Moccasin Gap, and flows into the Hol- 
ston River. Here he found a large Society of Methodists, 
and the most of them by the name of Lynn. They 
lived in small houses, cultivated poor land, burned 
pine knots for light by night, and lived in comparative 
poverty. But these people were kind and agreeable, 
and Dr. Young enjoyed his stay among them and asso- 
ciation with them. Why people would enter poor 
land and locate on it, when there were millions of unen- 
tered and unoccupied lands of the best quality in the 
country, I am not able to divine. Yet these people 
were wiser than Lot, who, attracted by the fertile 
lands of a Syrian plain, settled his family amid a cor- 
rupt and degraded people. "Godliness with content- 
ment is great gain." What is more beautiful to con- 
template than a community of poor but decent and 
godly people who, having food and raiment sufficient, 
are therewith content? What is more repulsive than 
vulgar wealth— a godless, vicious, filthy affluence? 

On his way to Russell Courthouse Mr. Young 
preached at a number of places, found pleasant people, 
and had delightful meetings. Within five miles of the 
Courthouse he found a large Society of intelligent and 
pious people. Why did not Dr. Young name this 
place and Society? He found no Society at the Court- 

FROM l8oi TO 1804. 27 

house. Thence he went to Henry Dickenson's, a dis- 
tinguished man in that county. There Dr. Young 
became acquainted with the Ellingtons. One of the 
family afterwards became a preacher (William Elling- 
ton), joined the itinerancy in 1804, and was appointed 
to Nollichucky Circuit. Dr. Young at this point 
speaks of his visit to Elk Garden, and of his forming 
the acquaintance of Richard Price and Francis Brown- 
ing. On his way to Tazewell Courthouse he preached 
several times among the Garrisons, Higginbothams, 
and Youngs. They received him as a messenger from 
God. He met with a Mr. Whitten, 1 who lived there, 
and afterwards became the father-in-law of the Rev. 
James Quinn, a man of considerable eminence in the 
Methodist ministry. Mr. Quinn was married to Miss 
Eleanor Whitten, of Tazewell County, Va., October 
3, 1824. He was very happy in this his second mar- 
riage. She was an interesting companion and a tender, 
affectionate mother to his children by his former wife. 
Mr. Whitten was quite gentlemanly in his appear- 
ance and manners. He invited Dr. Young home with 
him, and when he reached the home he was surprised 
to find that his host had a large family, for he had 
thought him but a youth. Dr. Young found this to 
be an exceedingly pleasant family. Mr. Whitten (I 
am sorry that Dr. Young did not give his Christian 
name) emigrated to Tazewell County, Va., at an early 
day. He became a very extensive landowner, entered 
largely into the business of stock-raising, and accumu- 
lated much wealth. He has a numerous and respect- 
able posterity in Tazewell County and other parts of 

1 The name is frequently spelled Witten. 


the country. The Whittens or Wittens have long been 
among the best citizens of that county, as well as else- 
where. This neighborhood was near Clinch River, 
and the community was mainly made up of the Whit- 
ten and Ligsell families. They were a very pleasant 
people, and nearly all became Methodists. Here Dr. 
Young was solicited to give up traveling 1 and settle 
down. His natural inclination would have led him 
to comply, but the Holy Spirit and a wise Providence 
did not permit him to assume any such responsibility. 

Crossing the dividing ridge between the waters of the 
Tennessee and the Ohio, he went clown a stream named 
Blue Stone, formed several Societies, and saw some 
happy days. He recrossed the dividing ridge, went 
down the valley of Clinch about a hundred miles, and 
preached in a great many places night and day, as he 
went along, till he came to his starting point, in Rye 
Cove. This was one round on Clinch Circuit. His 
first quarterly meeting was held at Whitten's. Here 
he met his presiding elder, the Rev. John Watson, the 
Rev. Thomas Milligan, and Dr. Jephthah Moore. Dr. 
Young remarks of Mr. Watson that he was not a 
great preacher, but an excellent Church officer, pos- 
sessing a great amount of sanctified wit, which he 
knew how to use to advantage. He says that Milli- 
gan was a man of strong mind, but that he lacked cul- 
tivation ; yet that he was an able preacher. Dr. Moore 
he pronounces a truly great man and an elegant pul- 
pit orator; states that he entered the ministry in early 
life, traveled a few years with great success, then lo- 
cated and went into the practice of physics. He also 
adds that Dr. Moore's sun went down partially under 
a cloud, and moralizes by adding that when a man is 

FROM 1 80 1 TO 1804. 29 

divinely called to the ministry, it is a dangerous thing 
for him to leave the Lord's work to accumulate world- 
ly riches or seek worldly honor. At the quarterly 
meeting Dr. Moore occupied the popular hour on Sun- 
day. The meeting was attended with great spiritual 
power. 1 

The Rev. Jacob Young, D.D., was born in Alle- 
gheny County, Pa., March 19, 1776. His father was 
a member of the Church of England and his mother of 
the Presbyterian Church, though both were strangers 
to the work of spiritual regeneration until led in after 
days by their own son to exercise saving faith in Christ. 
Dr. Young was ushered into being in the stirring 
times of the American Revolution, and the parents 
who rejoiced in the birth of a son were permitted, four 
months later, to rejoice in the birth of a nation. His 
first years were spent amid the wildest scenes of fron- 
tier life and the turmoil of war. In childhood he was 
attacked by a malignant disease which terminated in 
a distressing case of asthma that lasted till his fifteenth 
year; but his active mind in some degree surmounted 
the difficulties of bodily affliction, and grappled with 
the great themes that afterwards enlarged his mind 
and raised his thoughts to things heavenly and divine. 
The grandeur of the New Testament impressed his 
susceptible nature; and as he read of the life and suf- 
ferings of Jesus, his heart kindled with love divine. 
He looked by faith to the Lamb of God, and realized 
his sins forgiven. For a while he was happy in the love 
of God, but worldly associations stole the treasure 
from his heart. 

1 "Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. I., pp. 501-504. 


His health having recovered, and his father having 
removed to Kentucky, he divided his time between 
common labor and the customary sports of frontier 
life. While thus engaged he became alarmed at his 
own wickedness, and resolved to seek the blessedness 
he once enjoyed. After having been much troubled 
by the Westminster Confession, he turned to the Bi- 
ble alone for the truth. Against the will of his par- 
ents, he attended Methodist meetings, and was there 
guided out of darkness into light. His conversion was 
as bright and satisfactory as his agony had been deep 
and unutterable. He united with the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, but felt the power of the tempter, and 
by experience learned those bitter lessons which after- 
wards made him such a successful instructor of oth- 
ers in the way of righteousness. He felt an inexpressi- 
ble desire for knowledge, and seized with eagerness 
every legitimate means of mental improvement. The 
word of the Lord was fire in his bones, and under an 
impression which he dared not resist he preached his 
first sermon, after a day of fasting and prayer, saw 
his congregation bathed in tears, and felt within the 
approval of the Holy Ghost. At this time he had 
no formal license to preach. In September, 1801, he 
was licensed as a local preacher; and on February 17, 
1802, he was thrust into the traveling ministry by Wil- 
liam McKendree to take the place of Gabriel Wood- 
field on a large frontier circuit. For fifty-five years 
he was engaged in the active itinerancy. As a helper 
on a circuit, preacher in charge of circuits, presiding 
elder of important districts, and taking part in the de- 
liberations of the councils of the Church, he sustained 
himself creditably and honorably. In the shades of 

FROM l8oi TO 1804. 3t 

declining life and the felt decay of vigorous manhood, 
he was great in the beautiful symmetry of Christian 
character, sweet submission to the will of God, deep 
interest in all the improvements of the Church, and 
the more than martial fire which he infused into his 
younger brethren. He had long enjoyed the blessing 
of perfect love, and in his last days the evidence of it 
was clear and his joy full. At the home of his oldest 
son, surrounded by the members of his own family 
and other friends, he breathed his blessings upon them, 
audibly pronounced the words "Sweet heaven ! sweet 
heaven !" and then passed up to the bosom of God. 
He died September 16, 1859, in the eighty- fourth year 
of his life and the fifty-eighth of his ministry. On 
the following Sabbath the Rev. Joseph Caspar 
preached an appropriate funeral discourse in Town- 
street Church, in Columbus, Ohio. 1 

Such were the attainments of Dr. Young in litera- 
ture and theology that some institution, I know not 
what, gave him the well-merited and honorably worn 
title of Doctor of Divinity. He was, in his day, one 
of the ablest and most useful ministers of his Church. 
He not only preached with superior ability, but wielded 
the pen of a ready writer. He made valuable con- 
tributions to the literature of the Church. 

Bishop Thomas A. Morris, in the Introduction of 
Dr. Young's Autobiography, says: "I became well ac- 
quainted with Dr. Young when he was probably at 
the maximum of his physical and mental vigor. He 
was my presiding elder from the spring of 1816 to 
the autumn of 1819. He was then regarded as one of 

* General Minutes M, E, Church, 


our strongest men in the work. Multitudes of people 
attended his quarterly meetings, expecting to witness 
displays of awakening power and saving .mercy, and 
were seldom disappointed." 

James Douthit was born in North Carolina, Octo- 
ber 12, 1766; joined the Methodist Society in 1782; 
was converted in 1786 and called to preach, but he re- 
fused. After this refusal he became sorely afflicted, 
and was brought down to the gate of death ; but upon 
promising God to do his duty, he began to amend ; and, 
although still upon crutches, he was admitted to the 
traveling connection in 1793. He located in- 1803; 
was readmitted in 1805, in the spring; and located 
again in the fall of the same year. He traveled in 
South Carolina and North Carolina. He was appoint- 
ed presiding elder of Salisbury District in the years 
1801-02. The district at that time embraced the Swan- 
nanoa country, in Buncombe County. 

The Rev. Joseph Travis says: "James Douthit is 
another of those Heaven-ordained worthies that I can- 
not pass by unnoticed. The name of James Douthit 
is venerated by hundreds in South Carolina. I never 
had the pleasure of seeing him ; but I recollect, when 
I was but a youth, hearing his fame proclaimed by 
many as of one of the great ones of the earth; and 
from what I could learn in after days, Mr. Douthit 
was ranked far above mediocrity. He was universally 
beloved as a neighbor, citizen,' : and gospel minister. He 
lived and preached in mature old age." 1 

Thomas Logan Douglass was admitted into the Vir- 
ginia Conference in 1801 ; and died April 9, 1843. 

Autobiography of Rev. Joseph Travis, p. 210, 

FROM 1 80 1 TO 1804. 33 

He touched Holston only one year, 1802-03, when 
he traveled the Swannanoa Circuit. Mr. Douglass 
was born in Person County, N. C, in 1781. As he in- 
herited a considerable patrimony, it is evident that he 
was reared in easy circumstances. A portion of his 
early years was spent as a merchant's clerk. His edu- 
cation was limited. He was converted and joined the 
Methodist Church in 1798, and in the early part of 
1800 was authorized to preach. He occupied some of 
the most important stations in Virginia, North Caro- 
lina, and Tennessee. He was a presiding elder of some 
of the most important districts. He was for many 
years secretary of the Tennessee Conference ; was sev- 
eral times a delegate to the General Conference, and 
was secretary of that body in 1832 and in 1836. Soon 
after his transfer to the West he was united in marriagr 
to Miss Frances McGee, daughter of Rev. John Mc 
Gee. Mr. Douglass located in Williamson County 
Tenn., where he farmed and became a model farmer. 

Douglass was a very successful presiding elder. By 
careful and able administration he brought up all the 
interests of his districts. He was intellectual, eloquent, 
and spiritually powerful as a preacher. He was pre- 
siding elder of the Nashville District in 1820, when 
within his field of labor there was one of the most re- 
markable revivals ever witnessed in that country. 
During one quarter, in the Lebanon Circuit, more than 
two hundred people were added to the Church, and 
about one hundred souls converted at the regular cir- 
cuit appointments. At a camp meeting at Centre Meet- 
inghouse, thirty-three preachers and about five thou- 
sand people were present. The work was glorious. 
An aged sinner was heard to say: "I never saw 


the like before; God had sanctified the very ground, 
and none could walk upon it without feeling awful." 
The work became so general on Tuesday of the meet- 
ing that the whole camp ground was an altar, with 
penitents crying for mercy everywhere. This meet- 
ing resulted in two hundred and two conversions, and 
was said to have been the commencement of the 
greatest work ever seen in the Western country. The 
holy influence was felt like an electric shock in the 
surrounding country, and it was felt more than a hun- 
dred miles away in less than a week. The Spirit of 
God knows no limitation of space or time; besides, 
no system is so well adapted to the general diffusion 
of intelligence and to the scattering of the holy fire 
as the Methodist itinerant system. 

At the Centre Meetinghouse camp meeting and 
six others there were over twelve hundred conversions ; 
and even the quarterly meetings were Pentecosts where 
numbers were brought from death to life. At Con- 
ference the district reported a net increase of one thou- 
sand eight hundred and twenty members, although 
at least five hundred had emigrated from the dis- 
trict to Missouri, Alabama, and Jackson's Purchase. 
This great work was not marred by the irregularities 
that occurred in the great revival of 1800. There 
was nothing of the jerks or the dance. Mr. Douglass, 
the chief instrument in this work, said that it was the 
most blessed revival he had ever seen. 

Although this work did not occur in Holston, it is 

given as a pointer to the character of a great and ^ood 

man who belongs to Holston history, and who aided 

in founding Methodism on the Buncombe Plateau. 

v - Mr. Douglass was of low stature, and in his last 

FROM l8oi TO 1804. 35 

years inclined to corpulency. He was erect in form, 
grave and dignified in deportment. His features were 
symmetrical and his face beamed with benevolence. 
His voice was clear, full, and melodious. His articu- 
lation was distinct, and his tone and emphasis natural. 
His mind was clear and his judgment sound. His 
theological attainments were respectable. He was a 
strict disciplinarian, without harshness or tyranny. He 
was remarkably punctual and honest in all his dealings. 
As a Christian he was consistent, uniform, and devout. 
He was a delightful companion. He was an able and 
popular preacher. He commanded large audiences, and 
his sermons not only combined logic and eloquence, 
but they were preached with unction and spiritual pow- 
er. He died in holy triumph, and after an appropri- 
ate discourse by Rev. A. L. P. Green he was buried 
April 10, 1843. 1 

Samuel Douthit 2 was admitted into the traveling con- 
nection in, 1797, and located in 1804. In the spring 
of 1 80 1 he was appointed to Greene Circuit, in the 
fall of the same year to Holston Circuit, and in 1803 
to Nollichucky Circuit. Two years of itinerancy 
in the Holston country so attached him to its fertile 
lands, its health-inspiring breezes, and its beautiful 
landscapes that he made it his permanent home. 

The Rev. Samuel Douthit, M.D., was born on Yad- 
kin River, in Rowan (now Davie) County, N. C, 

1 Dr. McFerrin, in "Sketches of Eminent Itinerant Minis- 
ters," pp. 203-227. I condense considerably, using a portion of 
his language. 

2 The name in the General Minutes is spelled Douthat; 
but the names of Samuel, James, and William should be 
spelled with an i. 






•— > 






























































FROM 1 80 1 TO 1804. 37 

September 20, 1777. His father was originally from 
Maryland. His father's house, on the Yadkin, was a 
regular preaching place. Samuel Douthit married 
Mary Ann Tomotly, whose father was killed by the 
Indians while he was crossing the Tennessee River at 
what is now known as the Tomotly Ford, near the Mc- 
Ghee place. The murdered man was one of the first 
settlers in Monroe County, Tenn. 

After his marriage Dr. Douthit located and studied 
medicine, and settled on the Tennessee River, in Blount 
(now Loudon) County, between the present towns of 
Loudon and Morganton. There he practiced medi- 
cine, farmed, and exercised the functions of a local 
preacher. He was the family physician of the Le- 
noirs for many years. He reared a family of five sons 
and five daughters, and accumulated a considerable 
amount of property for that day. Late in life he re- 
moved to a farm which he owned in Monroe County, 
Tenn., near the home of Mr. C. L. Howard, his son- 
in-law, who lived on Tellico River. He died at the 
Monroe County residence December 16, 1852, and was 
buried at the old home above Loudon. 

The late Dr. Isaac Douthit was a son of Dr. Samuel 
Douthit. He married a Rockhold, of Sullivan Coun- 
ty, Tenn. He lived and died at the old home above 
Loudon. It was to that place the Rev. Henry C. Neal 
went immediately after having been mobbed and al- 
most beaten to death. Dr. Isaac Douthit dressed his 
wounds, and he and Mrs. Douthit nursed him back to 
strength. Mr. Neal wished to leave the place as soon 
as he was able to travel, fearing that his presence there 
would subject the family to personal abuse; but they 
would not consent to his leaving. This place is now 


owned by Mr. Arthur Jackson, who married a daugh- 
ter of Dr. Isaac Douthit. Mr. Jackson is a nephew 
of the Rev. George W. Jackson, of the Holston Confer- 
ence. Dr. William Douthit, of Louisville, Tenn., is 
a son of Dr. Isaac Douthit. Elizabeth T., a daughter 
of Dr. Samuel Douthit, married Mr. C. L. Howard. 
The Rev. William Reagan Barnett, of the Holston Con- 
ference, married a daughter of Mr. Howard. Another 
daughter married the eccentric William Hurd Rogers. 
The William in Mr. Barnett's name is for Mr. Rogers, 
and the Reagan is for Dr. James A. Reagan, of Wea- 
verville, N. C. 

A sister of Samuel Douthit married a Stanton, and 
the Rev. P. L. Stanton, of Georgia, is a grandson of 

Dr. Samuel Douthit was evidently a man of consid- 
erable ability. Mrs. Barnett has the Bible which he 
carried in his saddlebags, a number of sermon notes 
which he had used, and a hymn book of his own com- 
posing. There are stanzas in this book which rise to 
the height of respectable hymnology. James Douthit, 
who entered the traveling connection in 1793, and who 
for some years, by reason of his incumbency of Salis- 
bury District, in North Carolina, preached in Western 
North Carolina, west of Blue Ridge, was a brother 
of Samuel Douthit. He eventually settled in Vir- 
ginia. 1 

*A letter from the Rev. William R. Barnett. 

Lorenzo and Peggy Dow. 

A history of Holston Methodist pioneers and pio- 
neerism cannot be fully and faithfully written without 
a mention of Lorenzo Dow. This wonderful cosmo- 
politan occasionally passed through the Holston coun- 
try, and his visits in our section were seasons of con- 
stant travel and preaching and constant effort to save 
souls and to spread and establish the Redeemer's king- 
dom on this high and romantic plateau. 

Lorenzo Dow was born in Coventry, Toland County, 
Conn., October 16, 1777. He descended from English 
ancestors. Before he was four years old he "mused 
upon God, heaven, and hell." He had a long strug- 
gle for pardon and terrible agony. At last he experi- 
enced a change, and his soul "flowed out in love to 
God, to his ways, to his people, and to all mankind." 
At the age of fifteen, soon after his conversion, he 
united with the Society of Methodists. He long re- 
sisted the impression that it was his duty to preach ; 
but at last yielded to his convictions. 

Dow applied for admission into the New England 
Conference which met at Thompson, Conn., Septem- 
ber 19, 1796, but was rejected. Stevens attributes his 
rejection to the "discerning eye" of Asbury, who, he 
says, "perceived the peculiarity of his character." 1 He 

'"History of the M. E. Church," Vol. III., p. 279. 



lingered about the place during the session, weeping 
sincere tears. "I took no food," says he, "for thirty- 
six hours afterwards." He attended the Conference 
which met at Wilbraham, Mass., September 19, 1797, 
and applied for admission again, but was again reject- 
ed. Stevens says: "Mitchell and Bostwick pleaded for 
him until they could plead no more, and sat down and 
wept." He was permitted to be employed by a pre- 
siding elder, but was not enrolled with the band. Ste- 
vens adds : "He was a right-hearted but wrong-headed 
man, labored like a Hercules, did some good, and had 
an energy of character which, with sounder faculties, 
would have rendered him as eminent as he was noted." 
I shall have occasion to give my estimate of the man 
farther on, but will anticipate here by saying that I 
differ with Stevens. I believe that Dow was mentally 
normal, that he was what God designed him to be, 
and that in filling a niche which no other man could 
have filled as well he was eminently useful. It is re- 
markable that Stevens finds it quite convenient to men- 
tion again and again this "wrong-headed" man, who 
only "did some good." By purity, zeal, and genius, 
Dow forced his way into abundant historic recognition, 
as he had to do into opportunities to labor in the cause 
of God and save souls. He was finally admitted 'into 
the traveling connection at Granville September i3, 
1798. He received his license from Asbury, and was 
appointed junior preacher on Cambridge Circuit, with 
Timothy Dewey, preacher in charge. His written li- 
cense allowed him to preach only on the Cambridge 
Circuit During the year he was transferred to Pitts- 
field Circuit. On these circuits he did a faithful year's 
work. Stevens says : 


Notwithstanding his singularities, he was remarkably suc- 
cessful. In many places he was repulsed by the Societies and 
denied the hospitalities of the families which usually enter- 
tained the circuit preachers, but his unwearied labors in time 
produced a profound impression. He sometimes rode more 
than fifty miles and preached five sermons, besides leading 
several classes, in a single day. The astonished people, wit- 
nessing his earnestness and usefulness, soon treated him more 
respectfully, and a general revival ensued. In Pittsfield, 
where he at first received no invitation to their homes, he 
says: "I visited it extensively, and had the satisfaction to 
see the Methodists and others stirred up to serve God. Now 
they offered me presents, which I refused, saying, 'The next 
preachers invite home and treat well, for my sake.' " "In 
Alford," says he, in his characteristic style, "I preached Meth- 
odism, inside and outside. The brethren here treated me very 
coldly at first; so I was necessitated to pay for my horse- 
keeping for five weeks, and, being confined a few days with 
the ague and fever, the man of the house not being a Meth- 
odist, I paid him for my accommodation. I had said in public 
that God would bless my labors there, which made the people 
watch me for evil, and not for good. I visited the whole 
neighborhood from house to house, which made a great up- 
roar among the people. However, the fire kindled; the so- 
ciety got enlivened, and several others, who were stumbling 
at the unexemplary walk of professors, were convinced and 
brought to find the realities of religion for themselves. When 
leaving this place I was offered pay for my expenses; but 
I refused it, saying, 'If you wish to do me good, treat the 
coming preachers better than you have treated me/ Now the 
eyes of many were enlightened to see a free salvation offered 
to all mankind. In Lenox the Society and people were much 
prejudiced at first, but the former were quickened afresh." 

This eccentric man left the circuit in a state of universal 
prosperity. One hundred and eighty had been added to the 
Societies, and about five hundred more "were under conviction 
for sin." The sensation was wonderful, and some, to our 
day, stood up in the church as witnesses of his usefulness. 


"We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency 
of the power may be of God, and not of man." 1 

How does this statement compare with the faint 
praise of Dow's having done "some good?" 

Dow, believing that his health was failing, did not 
attend the Conference which met in New York June 
19, 1799, but wrote to the Conference, requesting the 
privilege of going to sea. The request was disregard- 
ed, and he was continued on trial, and appointed in 
charge of Essex Circuit. Dr. Anson West, in the 
"History of Methodism in Alabama," rather ironically 
observes: "Notwithstanding his ill health and preca- 
rious tenure of life, while the other preachers were in 
attendance upon the session of the Conference he was 
traveling from twenty-five to fifty miles and preaching 
from five to six times a day." 2 He went to the circuit, 
and was remarkably active in the discharge of his du- 
ties for three or four months; but in October he left 
his work and went to Europe, against the advice of 
all the friends whom he consulted. He spent about 
twenty months in his European trip, preached inces- 
santly while there, and returned in time for the 
session of the Conference, June 16, 1801. He was 
restored to his place in the Conference, and appoint- 
ed junior preacher on the Duchess and Columbia Cir- 
cuit. He went to the circuit, but left it before the 
year was out and made a tour of Georgia. At the 
Conference, June 1, 1802, his name was dropped from 
the roll. This was the end of his regular work as a 
Methodist itinerant. As he had not been ordained, his 

Stevens's "History of the M. E. Church," Vol. IV., pp. 50, 51. 
2 "History of Methodism in Alabama," p. 31. 


being discontinued as a traveling preacher and dropped 
from the roll was tantamount to a repeal of his li- 
cense as a Methodist preacher. Henceforth he was 
free to go where he pleased, being amenable to no 
ecclesiastical body. In other words, Dow found his 
place ; it was that of an untrammeled evangelist. His 
restless, roving disposition made a circuit too small for 
him. Besides, it was evidently the will of God that 
this celebrated irregular should, in his own peculiar 
way, break the bread of life to the hundreds of thou- 
sands who, drawn by the fame of his talents and ec- 
centricities, should flock to hear him in all parts of 
the Union, and in England and Ireland. 

These remarks are not intended to excuse Dow al- 
together. His leaving his charge in the midst of the 
year was reprehensible. But there was a restlessness 
within which, under the guidance of a wise Provi- 
dence, was thrusting him out into a wider field. God 
in this case, it seems to me, overruled the mistakes of 
Dow, to his own glory. 

History seems to have accorded to Dow the credit 
of being the first gospel minister, of the Protestant 
faith, whose voice was heard in Alabama and Louisi- 

The Rev. E. "F. Sevier remembered seeing and hear- 
ing Mr. Dow preach in Knoxville. Sevier was quite a 
child at the time, but he remembered the occasion 
distinctly. A great crowd of curious people were in 
and about the village some hours before the time of 
preaching had arrived. Where the preacher was to 
take his stand no one knew. The crowd moved and 
surged from side to side, from point to point. At 
length a tall, plainly dressed man, with a handkerchief 


about his head in lieu of a hat, appeared as if he had 
come out of the ground or had been let down from the 
clouds. He made no delay, but mounted a log and be- 
gan announcing his hymn : 

Come, sinners, to the gospel feast; 
Let ev'ry soul be Jesus' guest; 
Ye need not one be left behind, 
For God hath bidden all mankind. 

The announcement of the hymn and the singing 
were sufficient notice to the scattered people as to the 
place where the preaching was to occur, and the crowd 
soon gathered about the wonderful stranger. Sevier 
had no distinct recollection of the text, subject, or line 
of argument ; but the whole manner of Dow was indeli- 
bly impressed on his memory. He did not play the ora- 
tor ; he was not a declaimer ; on that occasion he played 
the part of a reasoner and polemic. He seemed to sin- 
gle out a particular hearer, to whom he addressed all 
his remarks. This particular hearer was, perhaps, ficti- 
tious, and was addressed as a Calvinist. The sermon 
was a dialogue between Dow and this fictitious hearer. 
The preacher heard the man's arguments in support of 
unconditional election and reprobation, partial redemp- 
tion, effectual calling, and final perseverance, and an- 
swered them. Dow was very pointed and emphatic 
in his questions and answers. The sermon, in the 
opinion of young Sevier, was a complete demolition 
of Calvinism. Dow would frequently make an asser- 
tion and then, leaning forward and pointing at his an- 
tagonist, say, "It's a fact, and you can't deny it !" giv- 
ing the broad Italian sound to the letter a in the words 
fact and can't. 

The whole performance was very interesting to the 


large audience. Their attention was riveted from start 
to finish. The people were convinced and swayed ; for 
the matter and manner of the preacher showed that he 
believed what he preached, and that he was terribly 
in earnest. The ever-widening influence of such a 
sermon as that eternity alone can compute. This sto- 
ry I received from the lips of Sevier himself. 

This visit of Dow to the Holston country was made 
in the year 1804. From his journal I take the follow- 
ing particulars : On the 14th of February of that year 
he spoke in Buncombe County, N. C, to more than 
could get into the Presbyterian meetinghouse, and he 
trusted that good was done. Mr. Dow does not tell 
where this meetinghouse was ; but he says that the 
minister was not "an A double L part man," by 
which he means that he was not a hyper-Calvinist, and, 
therefore, did not hold that when the Scriptures say 
that Christ died for all they mean that he died for a 
part of mankind. Neither does Mr. Dow name the 
minister; but in that county there was a Rev. Mr. 
Newton, of the Presbyterian Church, with whom Bish- 
op Asbury was wont to take sweet counsel, and it is 
almost certain that he is the minister to whom Mr. 
Dow alludes. The next day, by a ride of forty-five miles 
in company with a Dr. Nelson, he crossed the "dismal 
Alleghany Mountains" by way of Warm Springs. On 
this trip he filled an appointment at Newport, Tenn. 
He had heard about a singular phenomenon called the 
jerks, which, he says, made its first appearance in 
Knoxville in August, 1803, to the great alarm of the 
people. At first he considered these reports as vague 
and false, but he resolved to go and see for himself, 
and accordingly sent forward some appointments. 


When he arrived in sight of Knoxville, he saw hun- 
dreds of people collected in little crowds ; and, finding 
that no particular place had been designated for the 
meeting, he mounted a log and gave out a hymn, the 
announcement of which caused the people to assemble 
in solemn silence. This was probably the service 
which Elbert Sevier recollected, although at that time 
he was a mere child. In the course of the meeting 
Dow observed several involuntary motions among his 
hearers, which he took to be a sample of the jerks. 
He hired horseback conveyance part of the way from 
Newport to Sevierville, and attempted to finish the 
journey afoot; being almost exhausted, he had the 
good luck to fall in with men on horseback going, as 
they said, to hear a crazy man preach, and they kindly 
invited him to ride. They asked him whether he 
knew the preacher, and what was his opinion of him. 
He replied that he knew him, had heard him preach, 
but had no great opinion of him. After being treated 
to a cup of tea, he spoke to a vast audience, and ob- 
served about thirty persons to have the jerks, though 
they strove to keep still. Mr. Dow remarks that these 
motions were involuntary and irresistible, as any un- 
prejudiced mind might discern. Here a lawyer by the 
name of Porter, who had come a considerable distance 
to hear the stranger and whose heart was touched 
under the word, learning that Dow had sold a disabled 
horse and had gotten to Sevierville with difficulty, 
loaned him a horse to ride a hundred miles and gave 
him a dollar. The religion that opens the heart al- 
ways opens the purse. At Maryville he spoke to about 
fifteen hundred persons ; many felt the word and about 
fifty had the jerks. At night he lodged with one of 


the "Nicholites," a kind of Quakers, who did not feel 
free to wear colored clothing. Mr. Dow preached 
at his house at night. While at tea he noticed that the 
daughter of the man of the house had the jerks, and 
that in the violent agitation she dropped the teacup 
from her hand. He asked her what was the matter. 
She replied: "I have the jerks, and have had them sev- 
eral days." She also remarked that the exercise had 
been the means of awakening and converting her soul. 

On Sunday, February 19, 1804, he spoke in Knox- 
ville to hundreds more than could get into the court- 
house, the Governor being present. This was John 
Sevier. About one hundred and fifty had the jerks. 
Among those who had the jerks was the circuit preach- 
er, John Johnson, who had opposed the jerks, but he 
now took it powerfully ; and Mr. Dow thinks he would 
have fallen several times had not the audience been 
so crowded that he could not fall, unless he fell per- 
pendicularly. The General Minutes show that John 
Johnson was admitted into the Western Conference in 
the autumn of 1803, and was appointed to the French 
Broad Circuit, which included Knoxville at the time. 
At the end of the year he disappears from the Min- 
utes. I scarcely doubt that this was the preacher who 
proposed to preach the jerks out of the Methodist 
Church, according to the statement of Dr. Young. 
(See Vol. I., p. 378.) 

After the meeting in Knoxville Mr. Dow rode some 
eighteen miles to a Quaker settlement, where he held 
a meeting at night. Some of the Ouakers remarked 
to him that they were informed that the Methodists 
and the Presbyterians had the jerks because they sang 
and prayed so much, but that they (the Quakers) were 


a quiet people, and therefore were not afflicted with 
it. However, about twenty of them having come to 
hear the strange preacher, some- dozen of them took 
the jerks, and had it as violently as he had seen any- 
where, being caused to grunt or groan as they jerked. 

Mr. Dow observes that many undervalued the 
strange exercises of the great revival, and attempted 
to account for them on natural principles ; but he gives 
his opinion in the following words: "From the best 
judgment I can form, it seems to me that God hath 
seen proper to take this method to convince people 
that he will work in a way to show his power, and that 
he sent the jerks as a sign of the times, partly in judg- 
ment for the people's unbelief, and yet as a mercy to 
convict people of divine realities." 

The following observations of Mr. Dow in his jour- 
nal in regard to the jerks are worth preserving, word 
for word : 

I have seen Presbyterians, Quakers, Baptists, Church of 
England people, and Independents exercised with the jerks; 
gentleman and lady, black and white, the aged and the young, 
rich and poor, without exception • from which I infer, as it 
cannot be accounted for on natural principles, and carries 
such marks of involuntary motion, that it is no trifling matter. 
I believe those who are most pious and given up to God are 
rarely touched with it, and also those naturalists who wish 
and try to get it to philosophize upon it are excepted; but 
lukewarm, lazy, half-hearted, indolent professors are subject 
to it; and many of them I have seen who, when it came upon 
them, would be alarmed and stirred up to redouble their dili- 
gence with God, and after they would get happy were thank- 
ful that it ever came upon them. Again, the wicked are fre- 
quently more afraid of it than of the smallpox or yellow fever. 
These are subject to it; but persecutors are more subject to it 
than any, and they have sometimes cursed and sworn and 
damned it while jerking. There is no pain attending the jerks 


unless the parties resist it, which, if they do, will weary 
them more in an hour than a day's labor, a fact which shows 
that it requires the consent of the will to avoid suffering. 

On the 20th I passed a meetinghouse where I observed that 
the undergrowth had been cut down for a camp meeting, and 
from fifty to one hundred saplings left breast-high, which to 
me appeared so Slovenish that I could not but ask my guide 
the cause, who observed that they were topped so high and 
left for the people to jerk by. This so excited my attention 
that I went over the ground to view it, and found that the 
people had laid hold of the stumps and jerked so violently that 
they had kicked up the earth as a horse stamping at flies. I ob- 
served some emotion both this day night among the peo- 
ple. A Presbyterian minister, with whom I stayed, observed: 
"Yesterday while I was preaching some had the jerks, and 
a young man from North Carolina mimicked them, out of de- 
rision, and soon was seized with it himself. He grew 
ashamed, and on attempting to mount his horse to go off his 
foot jerked about so that he could not put it into the stirrup. 
Some youngsters, seeing this, helped him on; but he jerked so 
that he could not sit alone, and one of them got up to hold 
him on, which was done with difficulty. Observing this, I 
went to him and asked him what he thought of it. Said he, 
'I believe God sent it on me for my wickedness, and for 
making so light of it in others,' and he requested me to pray 
for him." I observed that his wife had it; she said that 
she was first attacked with it in bed. Dr. Nelson said he had 
frequently striven to get it, in order to philosophize upon it, 
but could not, and observed that he could not account for it 
on natural principles. 

Mr. Dow left Knoxville and went to Virginia, 
preaching at different points along the route, among 
which he mentions Greeneville. The last case of jerks 
which he saw was that of a young woman at a meet- 
ing in or near Abingdon. She was severely exercised 
by the jerks during the meeting. After service she 
followed him into the house where he stopped, and he 
rather rudely admonished her of her folly and the hide- 




cency of such gestures and grunts in public, and he 
urged her in a commanding tone to leave them off> if 
she had any regard for her character. She meekly re- 
plied: "I will if I can." He took her by the hand, and, 
looking her in the face, he said: "Tell me no lies." He 
perceived by the motion of her hand that she was doing 
her best to refrain from jerking; but instantly she be- 
gan to jerk as if she would jerk herself to pieces. He 
did all this that he might have an answer to those who 
accused the victims of the malady of hypocrisy ; and he 
kindly explained to her his motive for his abruptness. 

In closing his meeting in Abingdon he announced 
that on such a day and at such an hour, thirteen 
months later, he would, God willing, be in town again 
to hold a meeting. After leaving Abingdon he 
preached in Tazewell, Wythe, Grayson, and Mont- 
gomery Counties, and made his way farther East. 1 In 
Holston he left a favorable impression wherever he 
went. He has been remembered ever since with af- 
fection and admiration. His namesakes throughout 
the section rival in number those of Wesley, Asbury, 
and Washington. His complete unselfishness and spir- 
it of self-sacrifice, his prodigious journeys and labors, 
his deadness to praise or censure, his strict honesty 
and purity of character, his sublime faith in Jesus 
Christ, and his earnest, fearless, powerful preaching 
endeared him to the people of this hill country in a 
remarkable degree. 

Methodism in the Holston country was not a little 
aided by the evangelistic tours of Mr. Dow. At one 
time, when he was evangelizing in Greene County, 

i it 

"Dow's Works," pp. 180-184. 


Tenn., he selected Mr. Jacob Brunner, uncle of our 
Dr. John H. Brunner, as his guide. The route lay 
along Lick Creek. The -roads were rough and muddy. 
It was raining and sleeting. The light of day was 
fading into darkness. Approaching a house, Mr. 
Brunner called out, "Halloo !" A lady came to the 
door. "Madam," said Brunner, "can we stay with 
you to-night?" She answered: "Mr. Pogue is away, 
and I do not take travelers when he is not at home." 
"But it is dark," said Brunner, "the roads are freezing, 
and we are covered with ice." "I am sorry for that," 
replied the lady, "but I cannot consent to take travelers 
when Mr. Pogue is not at home." This was cold com- 
fort to the shivering travelers, but Mr. Brunner de- 
termined to try another argument, and said: "But this 
is Lorenzo Dow who is with me, and he is on his way 
to his appointment." "Lorenzo Dow ! Lorenzo Dow !" 
exclaimed Mrs. Pogue, "come in and welcome; I did 
not think of its being Mr. Dow." And they alighted 
and went in. Servants took charge of their horses, 
their wet hats and wraps were doffed, and the lady 
of the house led the way to a cheerful room and seated 
them before a blazing fire. Then Dow, turning to his 
hostess, said : " 'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers : 
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.' " 
The rebuke was received with childlike submission, 
after which no further allusion was made to the matter. 
The next day he reached the place where he was to 
preach precisely at the appointed time. A vast crowd 
had collected in the woods, despite the inclemency of 
the weather. A platform had been erected under a 
tree. In the midst of his sermon, while warning his 
hearers against the danger of apostasy, he leaped up- 


ward and seized a limb, and while swinging he ex- 
claimed: "Take care, Lorenzo, or you will fall!" "No 
danger," said he, in a changed voice. "Take care !" 
he cried again, "or you will fall." "No danger, no 
danger," he replied again. After several repetitions 
of the fictitious dialogue, his hands began to relax — 
relax — and down he came to the platform. Arising, 
he paused, and then said with emphasis : " 'Let him 
that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.' " 

This feat was eccentric; and if it had been, done sim- 
ply for the purpose of gaining notoriety, it would have 
been reprehensible. But it was Dow's way ; it was nat- 
ural to him, and his motive was good — that of im- 
pressing forcibly and indelibly upon the minds of his 
hearers an important truth, the danger of apostasy. 

While preaching one day on the south side of the 
'Nollichucky, he was excoriating overindulgent par- 
ents, and especially calling -attention to the habit of 
some parents of threatening to punish their children 
in certain contingencies and then failing to execute 
their threats. He then pointed out a lady with a red 
shawl, and said : "That lady with a red shawl is guilty 
of the conduct which I have described." Of course 
the lady was embarrassed, but it was said that she was 
notoriously guilt)- of the fault pointed out. How did 
Dow know it? Or did he draw his bow at a venture? 
One thing is certain — that it was fortunate for her 
rude critic that it was her shawl and not her hair that 
was red. 1 

The story of Dow's courtship and marriage is an in- 
teresting one. At one of his appointments in the State 

*A letter from Dr. John H. Brunner, 


of New York a tavern keeper who was accustomed 
to entertain Methodists invited Dow home with him, 
saying that his daughter would be glad to see him. 
This was a young woman, sister of his wife, whom he 
had reared and called his daughter. Dow stayed all 
night, but not a word passed between him and this 
young lady, although there were but three persons in 
the family. The next clay he went to his appointment, 
and there was a gracious season. While he was preach- 
ing, however, an unusual exercise passed through his 
mind, known only to God and himself. The fact is, 
he had been powerfully smitten with the charms of 
this young woman who had desired to see him. This 
rude Elijah had felt the tender passion. He was ac- 
companied to his evening appointment by the hotel 
keeper, and he asked him if he would object to his talk- 
ing to his daughter on the subject of matrimony. The 
man replied : "I have nothing to say, only I have re- 
quested her, if she has any regard for me, not to marry 
so as to leave my house." In going to his appointment 
Mr. Dow had occasion to stop at the hotel, to which, 
perhaps, he was not very averse. When he reached 
the door he abruptly asked the lady of the house who 
had been there and what they had been about in his 
absence. Her reply opened the way for her to remark 
that Peggy was resolved never to marry except to a 
preacher who would continue traveling. A.t that mo- 
ment the young lady stepped into the room where the 
conversation was going on, and Mr. Dow inquired of 
her if the statement of her sister was correct. She re- 
plied in the affirmative, whereupon he said: "Do you 
think you could accept of such an object as I?" She 
made no reply, but retired from the room. This was 


the first time he had ever spoken to her. After dinner 
he asked her one more question, and then went to his 
appointment in the neighborhood, and was gone for 
a few days. He says that, having an oilcloth cloak 
in process of making, he found it necessary to return 
to the hotel, where he lodged for the night. But in my 
opinion the cloak was not large enough nor thick 
enough nor oily enough to conceal the real motive for 
the return. When he left in the morning he said to 
the young woman that he was going to the far South 
to be gone some eighteen months, that if his life was 
spared he hoped to return North again, and that if, 
while he was gone, she did not meet with some one 
that she loved better than himself, and he found no 
one he loved better than her, perhaps- something fur- 
ther would be said on the subject. He added that if 
they married she must never ask him to desist from 
traveling; that if she did he would ask God to take 
her out of his way, and he would do it. After reach- 
ing the Natchez country he wrote to the family of the 
hotel, requesting them to remove to that section. This 
they did, and Lorenzo and his dear Peggy were in a 
short time made one in the sweet bonds of holy wed- 
lock, and they had a long, happy, and harmonious ca- 
reer of usefulness together. 1 

In the year 1831 or 1832 he had an appointment in 
Reisterstown, Md. The house was densely crowded. 
The pulpit was high. Suddenly the preacher, who had 
gone in before the assembling of the congregation, 
and seated himself on the kneeling stool, thus conceal- 
ing himself from view, sprang to his feet, and in a 

1 <t 

Dow's Works," pp. 2T0-212. 

Lorenzo and peggy dovv. 55 

clear voice gave out the hymn, "A charge to keep I 
have." It was sung by the whole assembly. He prayed 
a queer but earnest prayer and then read his text: 
"God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the 
tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant." 
(Gen. ix. 27.) The sermon was full of oddities and 
originalities, and was largely an expansion of the 
prophecy contained in the text. 

In 1826 he stopped with a Mr. Goodwin, at Brook- 
ville, Ind. Bedtime coming on, he turned to Mr. Good- 
win and said: ''Can't I have a room to myself with a 
hard bed? I don't want a hard bed that you have to 
take a feather bed off of, thus filling the room with 
dust." There was no other kind in the house, but 
finally it was arranged to make him a bed on the lounge 
in the parlor, which he preferred,, saying, "That will 
do." On the eve of retiring, he asked: "Can I have 
this room to myself in the morning without being dis- 
turbed?" "O yes," was the reply. The next morning 
breakfast was prepared later than usual, and then kept 
in waiting on his account; and, after waiting a long 
time, Mr. Goodwin ventured in and kindly said: 
"Brother Dow, our breakfast is now waiting. Will 
you come out and have prayers with us? and we will 
then take breakfast." Dow looked at him, but made 
no reply. The family and employees, of whom there 
were several, gathered and waited for prayers till their 
patience was exhausted, but Dow did not appear. At 
length Mr. Goodwin reentered the room to repeat the 
call, when, lo and behold ! the preacher was gone, and 
he did not see him again till the hour for preaching in 
the woods had arrived. He had gone and taken break- 
fast with a poor family living in a small tenement. 



When he appeared at the place of preaching, where 
some two thousand curious hearers were assembled, he 
walked around the congregation, pausing occasionally. 
While all eyes were fixed upon him, he started and ran 


about two hundred yards distant and mounted a log. 
The people followed him and he preached to them, 
while the audience listened with wonder at the marvel- 
ous sentences which fell from his lips. 

About this same period he had an appointment of 


months' if not a year's standing, to preach in the court- 
house at Covington, Ky., on a Sabbath afternoon. Ev- 
erybody* seemed to know it, and as everybody seemed 
to desire to hear him, the courthouse was more than 
crowded. It was expected that he would stand in the 
judge's desk, but, instead, he stood in front of it on 
the main floor. Extra seats were provided, allowing 
not much more space than was necessary for him to 
deliver his message. About half a dozen young la- 
dies, leaders in society, arranged to go, and, not being 
•easily abashed, walked in together and took the front 
seat, which brought them near the preacher. He had 
not progressed far until the merriment of the young 
ladies was absorbed in curiosity and undivided atten- 9 
tion, so much so that they forgot their surroundings 
and inclined forward, with eyes gazing and mouths 
open. Dow discovered their absorption, and, stepping 
suddenly toward them and extending his hands, ex- 
claimed : "Bah !" They, were startled, and screamed ; 
but as he went directly on with the sermon, they dis- 
covered that he was harmless, and became as composed 
as could be expected under existing circumstances. 
Dow, it was supposed, knew, as they themselves said, 
that their object in coming was to have fun. 

This story was told in after years by one of the 
young ladies, who was then the mother of one of the 
most distinguished men in the nation. 1 

The story of Dow's simulating the day of judg- 
ment, by having a negro boy by the name of Gabriel 
with his tin trumpet to climb into a pine tree and 

1 Letter of James Hill, D.D., to the Western Christian Ad- 
vocate, date not preserved. 


sound it at a given signal, is an old and familiar one. 
In the height of an impassioned description of the 
scenes of the judgment, Gabriel blew, and the people 
shouted and shrieked and cried for mercy; but when 
the fake was discovered, the boy was saved from lynch- 
ing only by the stern reproof of the preacher, who 
said : "If the blowing of a tin horn by a negro boy so 
alarms you, what will you do when the sure-enough 
Gabriel sounds his trumpet and calls you to judg- 

These anecdotes are given as specimens of the ec- 
centricities of this remarkable man. These eccentrici- 
ties may be admired or censured; they certainly are 
not to be imitated. But they have been criticised and 
condemned by those whose ministry has not been 
characterized by half the energy and usefulness of 
that of Lorenzo Dow. 

The following description of the person and dress 
of Mr. Dow is given by a man who heard him preach 
in 1832: In person, Mr. Dow was of medium height, 
of slender build, with long, dark hair parted in the 
middle, and rather long, full beard. His clothes were 
a long surtout coat made of drab cloth, with dark- 
colored vest and pants; his socks were white-ribbed 
and woolen; his shoes were of coarse leather, tied 
with leather strings; his hat was a cheap, well-worn 
palmetto. The whole outfit — coat, vest, and pants — 
was of coarse texture, and evidently not made by a 
modern tailor. The sermon was of an hour's length, 
and closed without peroration. He prayed the Lord's 
Prayer, and, without dismissal, hastened down the pul- 
pit steps, took up his hat and antiquated saddlebags, 
and, without speaking to any one, hurriedly walked 


down the aisle and out to the street, hailed the four- 
horse mail and passenger coach going to Baltimore, 
stepped in, and left, never to return. 

Dow was above mediocrity in intellect — a man 
of wonderful will force and working energy. He was 
a thoroughly regenerated man, and a thorough be- 
liever in the gospel which he preached. He was pure, 
honest, and unselfish. He was a prophet of the Elijah 
stamp; and Elijah did not discharge his duties more 
faithfully and boldly than did this prophet of the West- 
ern wilderness. Though not formally connected, dur- 
ing the larger part of his career, with the Methodist 
Church, he was Methodistic in doctrine and spirit, and 
always cooperated with the Methodist preachers. It 
is true he did not organize, but he labored with those 
and for those who did. To use a common figure, he 
shook down the fruit, while others gathered it. The 
number of spuls he saved and the number of holy im- 
pulses that he started or intensified, eternity alone will 
disclose. The rulers did not favor him, but the com- 
mon people heard him gladly. The people have an- 
nounced their verdict as to Lorenzo Dow, and it is 
one of approval. We may say of Dow as Jacob said 
of Joseph : "The archers sorely grieved him, and shot 
at him, and hated him : but his bow abode in strength, 
and the arms of his hands were made strong by the 
hands of the mighty God of Jacob." 

Dow's wife, Peggy, was a helpmeet in every re- 
spect. The writings of Lorenzo and Peggy Dow 
which they left behind are valuable. Mrs. Dow was 
scarcely inferior to her husband as a writer. She trav- 
eled with her ubiquitous husband throughout the 
Union and in Great Britain, a considerable part of 


the time on foot, and aided him in his meetings, pray- 
ing in public, exhorting and laboring privately for the 
salvation of souls. This heroine deserves historical 
recognition, and ought to be gratefully remembered 
when many women celebrated in profane history are 

Dr. Anson West gives the following unfavorable es- 
timate of Dow : 

To come to the facts in the case and the truth in the 
matter, Lorenzo Dow was inefficient. He was a force, but 
an inefficient force. He was a force, but an uncertain and 
unreliable force. His ministry through life was of doubt- 
ful utility, was very nearly, if not quite, a failure. He was 
not successful in anything nor in any respect. His knowl- 
edge was limited, and what he had he could not apply to 
useful ends. He was not a wise man. While he was not 
crazy in the sense that he was incapable of discerning right 
and wrong, and was not destitute of responsibility, yet in 
judgment he was defective, and he was without that neces- 
sary element of character, tenacity of purpose. He was rest- 
less and unsteady. He was a dreamer. He was restive un- 
der restraint, visionary in all his plans, impulsive in all his 
movements, fickle in all his undertakings, contracted in his 
range of thought, and seems to have had but one ambition, 
and that to travel at will and ramble at large. He was, 
contradictory as it may seem, both sanguine and despondent. 
He was at the same time unduly hopeful and painfully mor- 
bid. He was always looking for some wonderful achieve- 
ment where there were no adequate causes or efficient means, 
and he was so despondent and morbid that he always thought 
himself sick and nearly at the point of death, whereas he had 
the power of physical endurance possessed by very few men. 
He was, because of his temperament and make-up, disqual- 
ified for success in life's great work. He was, as many of 
his brethren believed, and as the sequel proved, incapable of 
making a successful preacher. 


The very features of Lorenzo Dow indicated his char- 
acter; they were both rough and delicate, and, as a whole, 
his face was smooth and effeminate, while yet there were in 
that face the very marks of indomitable energy. He parted 
his hair in the middle, and wore it hanging down on his 
neck and shoulders. His face was radiant with expressions 
of kindness. He was a rough man, he was an honest, truth- 
ful, and candid man, with generous impulses and kindly 
feelings. He had in him the impulses imparted to him by 
an endowment of Christian grace. He was a man of Chris- 
tian experience. He was a Christian. He was Lorenzo 
Dow. He died February 2, 1834, in Georgetown, District of 
Columbia, and was buried in a graveyard then near Washing- 
ton, now in the city. It is said that his remains were taken 
up and reinterred in Oak Hill Cemetery, on the borders of 

Men who cannot move in the ordinary channels of the 
Christian ministry will never be efficient in the divine cause, 
nor very successful in any good enterprise. 1 

The statement in the above extract, that "Dow's 
ministry through life was of doubtful utility, was very 
nearly, if not quite, a fa'.lure," does not, it seems to 
me, accord with the facts. This I say with all due 
deference to my learned and venerable friend, Dr. 
West, of whose sincerity I have no doubt. 

The very severity of this estimate, with its extrava- 
gant accumulation of epithets of depreciation, is 
sufficient, it seems to me, to refute it. This tirade is 
certainly an unjustifiable assault upon the memory of 
a man of remarkable piety and usefulness, who is 
now in heaven. 

Dr. West seems to have been incapable of under- 
standing such a man as Dow. With his attention al- 
most wholly directed to his eccentricities, he seems 

'"Methodism in Alabama," pp. 33, 34. 


to have overlooked the real merits of the man. 
Pricked by the thorns, he has failed to observe the 
beauties of the unfolding rose and to sniff its delight- 
ful fragrance. Occupied with the eccentricity of the 
orbit, his eye has not caught the flight of the planet 
as it describes its vast ellipse. Calculating the ele- 
ments of the parabolic curve, he has failed to note and 
admire the splendor of the comet that enlightens a 
quadrant of the sky. 

Besides, the concluding sentence of this estimate 
contradicts the statements with which it began ; for it 
is impossible to associate the indomitable energy and 
phenomenal industry ascribed to Dow by Dr. West 
with the honesty, truthfulness, candor, generous im- 
pulses, arid high Christian character which he also 
ascribes to him, and reach, -by any legitimate logical 
process, the conclusion that Dow was a failure as to 
the matter of usefulness. 

In the assertion that "men who cannot move in the 
ordinary channels of the Christian ministry will never 
be efficient," the Doctor forgets that Jesus Christ him- 
self set the example of a wandering evangelism; that 
Wesley and his coadjutors, mostly members of the 
Established Church at first,, ignored all ideas of reg- 
ularity, as to that Church, in their evangelistic oper- 
ations in Great Britain and America; and that no 
Church has all the machinery necessary to the evan- 
gelization of the world that throws out the evan- 
gelistic wheel and depends exclusively on the work 
of pastors and teachers. If Dr. West's ideas of reg- 
ularity had prevailed in the past, Christianity would 
never have supplanted Judaism, and Methodism would 
have remained in the womb of nonentity. 


The two rejections of Dow's applications for admis- 
sion into Conference, the refusal to allow him to go 
to sea, the failure to ordain him, the criticisms and 
indignities to which he was subjected by his brethren 
on account of his peculiarities no doubt had a tend- 
ency to sour him on the Church. In the rough block 
of marble his brethren could not see the angel. Be- 
sides, God was in these things, separating Dow from 
the Methodist Church and traveling connection, that 
he might do that free and extensive evangelistic work 
for which he was fitted by nature and grace. Had 
Wesley settled down over a congregation ; had White- 
field abstained, in deference to considerations of reg- 
ularity, from gospel ranging; or had Asbury taken a 
city station and stuck to it — where would Methodism 
be to-day? It is a mistake to suppose that, because 
Dow was restless, was a rover, was eccentric, did not 
pull in regular harness, did not organize — in other 
words, did not "follow with us" — he was a failure. 
There is a little too much red tape in this opinion. 

Even the liberal Dr. George G. Smith, the historian 
of Georgia and Florida Methodism, speaks ironically 
of Dow's impressions. Dow was impressed to do 
this and to do that, and he felt bound to follow his 
impressions. Does Mr. Smith forget that impression 
is eminently a Methodistic word? The sinner is im- 
pressed that he is a sinner; after a while he is im- 
pressed that his sins have been forgiven ; men are 
impressed that they are called to preach, and im- 
pressed to offer themselves for missionary work, etc. 
Religious impressions are not to be despised. The 
Spirit of God was sent into the world to guide us into 
all truth, to teach us all things; and where men are 


impressed by the Holy Spirit, as Philip was to join 
himself to the eunuch, they ought to follow their 
impressions. But I will let Dr. Smith speak for him- 

Lorenzo Dow, after having consented to take a circuit in 
New England, was impressed that he ought to come to 
Georgia ; and as his lungs were weak and his head hard, 
he decided, against the advice of his friends, that he would 
come, and took passage for Savannah. He reached that 
city early in 1802. He found no Methodist Church there, but 
a Mr. Cloud, one of the Hammettites (as the followers of 
Mr. Hammett were called), had a place to preach in, and about 
seventy hearers. He preached for him and for Andrew 
Marshall, the old colored Baptist preacher. He then left 
Savannah and traveled to Augusta. Of his stay the reader is 
referred to the account of Methodism in Augusta. One 
morning, being impressed that he ought to leave Augusta 
for Washington, where Hope Hull was, he set out before 
daylight. He had been converted under Hull's preaching, in 
New England, and regarded him with great affection. He 
found him at his corncrib, and saluted him with : "How are 
you, father?" The father was not enraptured at seeing one 
whose strange impressions had led him to go on foot 
through England, Wales, and Ireland, and now to come to 
Georgia; but he treated him very kindly, and gave him some 
sound advice about discarding these impressions and stick- 
ing to his work. Dow heard him calmly, and soon after, 
while Hull was sending an appointment for him to the vil- 
lage, he dashed away on foot and reached it first, scattered 
his tracts, and was ready to preach before the messenger 
came. There was much about his aspect and manner to 
arouse attention even at this time, though he grew much 
more eccentric in after life. Elisha Perryman, a Baptist 
preacher, heard him on one of his visits, and thus described 
his appearance: "He wore an old half red overcoat, with an 
Indian belt around his waist. He did r.ot wear a hat, but 
had his head tied up with a handkerchief. Coming into the 
house, he sat down by the fireplace for a few minutes, and 


then all of a sudden jumped up and cried out: 'What will 
this babbler say? They that have turned the world upside 
down are come hither also.' This was his text, and his talk 
was much every way, for it appeared to me to run from 
Britain to Japan, and from the torrid to the frigid zone." 
Yet this strange man was a man of no common intellect, and 
preached with real power. He was a great polemic. He 
had been brought up in New England, among the Calvinists, 
and as they were the only errorists (for so he regarded them) 
who had been much in his way, he never preached a sermon 
without attacking their views. He called them "All-part" 
people. To relieve the Church in Augusta from debt, he 
published his chain, which is mainly directed against the 
Calvinists. It is a fine piece of homely reasoning, and 
evinces real power in argument. 1 

Mr. Jones, the historian of Mississippi Methodism, 
comes nearer to rising to the height of a due apprecia- 
tion of this wonderful God-intoxicated man than any 
writer I know of. Speaking of Dow's visit to the 
Natchez country, he says : 

Lorenzo Dow was generally looked upon as eccentric; but 
if this estimation of him was correct, his eccentricity was 
always on the safe side. He was singularly pious, self- 
sacrificing, zealous, laborious, and useful as a wandering 
Methodist evangelist. He could not consent to be tram- 
meled by any Conference or local ties; but claimed the right 
to follow what he considered the indications of Providence, 
and to labor when, how, and where he could promise him- 
self to be most useful. In regard to temporal comfort and 
sustenance he seemed literally to desire nothing more than 
a scanty supply for his present wants. He asked no pecun- 
iary compensation for his services, and often declined re- 
ceiving the proposed contributions of the people, on the 
ground that at present they were not needed. If at any 
time he found he had received more in the way of grateful 
presents from the people than his present necessities re- 


Methodism in Georgia and Florida," pp. 95> °6. 


quired, he would give the surplus to the more needy, or else 
employ it in some way to advance the interests of Christ's 
kingdom. He would sell his watch and appropriate the pro- 
ceeds to aid some poor community in the erection of a place for 
public worship ; or, as the seasons changed, he would sell any 
part of his wardrobe to raise a few dollars to pay his current 
expenses through the Indian Nations or elsewhere, that he 
might promptly meet all his engagements, which were often 
published a year or more beforehand. 

At the time of which we now write, Lorenzo Dow, by 
his evident honesty and godly sincerity, and indefatigable 
devotion to his duties as an evangelist, had so overcome the 
prejudices of the Methodist public that he was almost every- 
where not only tolerated in his eccentric course, but most 
cordially received and encouraged in his evangelical work. 
"Dow is a great oddity," the people would say, "but his odd- 
ness is all on the safe side. He is not only very harmless 
in his deviations from the usual course of ministers, but his 
eccentricities make him the more attractive, and seem to 
enlarge the sphere of his usefulness." The writer is of the 
opinion that the Supreme Head of the Church, who has re- 
served to himself the inalienable right of calling whom he 
will to preach the gospel, sometimes raises up these comet- 
like and eccentric men to attract public attention to the sav- 
ing truth of Christianity, and to be useful in ways and places 
not readily reached by ordinary ministers. 

Lorenzo Dow is necessarily connected with the early his- 
tory of Methodism in Mississippi, and to leave him out would 
not only be gross injustice to the memory of a pious, faithful, 
and useful evangelist, but the history of the early struggles 
of our Church in this country would be forever incomplete 
without the record of facts from which he cannot in truth 
and justice be eliminated. We proceed to mention several 
facts as connected with his present visit to Mississippi. After 
his visit, in company with Mr. Blackman, to the afflicted mis- 
sionary, Hezekiah Harriman, who had lately been at the 
point of death at Adam Tooley's, he spent several weeks 
preaching in and around Washington and Natchez. Of 
Natchez he says, when he was there the year before, he 


found it almost impossible to get the people out to hear 
preaching, and doubted whether there were three Christians 
in the town, either white or black. Other ministers, repre- 
senting Protestant Churches, up to this date had met with 
similar success in Natchez. But Mr. Dow thought himself 
in good luck on this visit. 

Col. Andrew Marschalk, who was then publishing the only- 
weekly paper in Mississippi, in looking over his exchanges 
for an item, found in a paper published in Lexington, Ky., 
some rather severe strictures on Lorenzo Dow, written in 
the style of burlesque, and holding him up to the ridicule 
of the public. Just as the compositor had gotten this selec- 
tion in type, Mr. Dow handed him a notice for publication 
that he would "hold meeting in town on Sunday," at a given 
time and place. The publisher, in order to give the bur- 
lesqued preacher the benefit of both articles, put the notice 
of preaching next in order to the extract from the Lexington 
journal. This immediately gave rise to a great deal of talk 
and speculation about this odd preacher who had been so 
caricatured in the public prints ; for most papers in the Union 
had copied the article on Lorenzo Dow from the Lexington 
paper. The result was, he had large audiences while he 
remained in Natchez, both on Sabbath and week days. Dow, 
in conclusion, facetiously remarked that this coincidence re- 
minded him of the adage : "Give the devil rope enough, 
and he will hang himself." He had but little trouble in get- 
ting an audience in Natchez after that. 

Another incident of much greater importance to the pros- 
pective progress of the Church in the territory, connected 
with Dow's present visit to Mississippi, was the first camp 
meeting ever held southwest of Tennessee. Mr. Dow had 
become somewhat familiar with the manner of holding camp 
meetings, and had witnessed their great utility and usefulness 
in the Middle and Western States, and he urged the imme- 
diate holding of one in close proximity to Washington. Mr. 
Blackman consented to and encouraged the proposal, but 
prospects were at first very forbidding. There was not time 
to fully circulate the appointment; the people had not suffi- 
cient time to adjust their home affairs, and fix for camping. 


Then, it had to be held about the first of December, quite 
too late in the season even in this mild climate. But Dow was 
persistent in his plea for a camp meeting. Many predicted 
that he would get no campers; but about the last of Novem- 
ber he united with Messrs. Blackman and Barnes in holding 
their first quarterly meeting, on Clark's Creek, six or eight 
miles from Port Gibson. During the quarterly meeting Mr. 
Dow invited backsliders who desired to be reinstated in the 
favor of God to come forward for the prayers of the Church. 
An old backslider, who had once been happy in the love of 
God, with flowing tears came forward and fell upon his 
knees, followed by several others. The power of the Holy 
Ghost came upon the congregation, which was instantly 
succeeded by loud cries and shouts. Some of the bystanders 
showed their hostility to such exercises, while others were 
awe-struck and felt that God was there. "This," says Dow, 
"prepared the way for the camp meeting," though it was to 
be held at a distance of thirty miles from this place. Randall 
Gibson, with his family and several other leading families, 
making in all about thirty persons, set out forthwith for the 
camp meeting. They were favored with good weather, con- 
sidering the lateness of the season ; and though some of the 
sons of Belial tried in various ways to disturb the exercises 
of the meeting, their efforts were fruitless, and good be- 
havior, under the prudent leadership of Mr. Blackman, gen- 
erally prevailed. About fifty persons were awakened, and 
five professed to find peace with God. The members of the 
Church were greatly strengthened and united in love, and 
returned to their homes rejoicing. 

We will now give the reader a specimen of what were 
termed the oddities of Lorenzo Dow in connection with this 
camp meeting. The Sabbath afternoon is, on some accounts, 
the most unpleasant part of a camp meeting. Many are 
hastily preparing to start for home; many who intend to re- 
main are out helping their friends off, and bidding them 
farewell; the religious interest seems to relax, and some- 
thing like universal hurrying back and forth prevails. The 
question came up among the few preachers as to who should 
attempt to preach at that inauspicious hour. It was soon 


decided that "Brother Dow is the mail for the hour." Dow 
walked hastily toward the stand, and called out at the top 
of his voice to the intermixing multitude to assemble imme- 
diately, that he had in his possession the latest authentic 
news from hell, and was going to publish the same for the 
benefit of his congregation. A general suspension of all oth- 
er matters was the immediate result, and the congregation 
rushed en masse to the stand. Dow went through with a 
short but earnest preliminary service, and then announced 
as his text, "And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in 
torment," etc. He preached a telling sermon on the unspeak- 
able folly of seeking our chief happiness in the good things 
of this life, and thereby plunging our souls into the eternal 
torments of hell. The congregation remained quiet and sol- 
emn to the end, and no doubt many of them went away 
with an awful scriptural truth deeply impressed upon their 

Soon after the camp meeting closed, Lorenzo Dow, with 
two other men, began to prepare for a journey through the 
Choctaw and Creek Nations to the State of Georgia. As the 
most important item in their outfit, they wished to procure 
three Spanish mustang horses, because they could subsist 
mainly upon grass and leaves of the cane, and would re- 
quire but little corn. For this purpose they crossed the Mis- 
sissippi River into Louisiana, and, it is presumed, went into 
the Attakapas region, as those vast prairies were the place 
to find mustangs in those days. Mr. Dow says in his journal 
of this trip that he visited several settlements and held 
religious meetings. This was his usual way of speaking of 
an appointment for preaching. 

We mention this in order to give it as our opinion that 
Lorenzo Dow was the^first Methodist preacher that ever vis- 
ited and preached in Louisiana west of the Mississippi. 1 

While Jacob Young was in charge of Natchez Dis- 
trict, often swimming rivers, losing himself in woods 
and swamps, making his way by Indian trails, lodging 


Methodism in Mississippi," pp. 120-125. 


in filthy cabins, and encountering at his appointments 
the most reckless and degraded population of the 
whole American frontier, Lorenzo Dow reached this 
section, and for some time cooperated strenuously with 
the pioneers. Though he was a Connecticut man, Young 
found him as competent for frontier service as any 
of his itinerants; and bore him along over his im- 
mense district, both of them preaching night and 
day to rude, half-civilized throngs in the wilderness. 1 

As evidence of Dow's effectiveness as a preacher, I 
mention the following instances : In 1802 Mr. Colbert 
was presiding elder of the Albany District, New 
York. The famous and erratic Lorenzo Dow came 
into the section and worked mightily with the circuit 
preachers. Colbert writes of him: 

He is tall, of a very slender form; his countenance is 
serene, solemn, but not dejected, and his words, or rather 
God's words delivered by him, cut like a sword. At night 
Lorenzo Dow delivered one of the greatest discourses I ever 
heard against atheism, deism, and Calvinism. He took his 
text in about the middle of his sermon. Brother Covel arose 
after him, and said that . a young man desired the prayers 
of the preachers. Several others desired to be prayed for, 
and at length there was a wonderful display of divine power 
in the large congregation, beneath the boughs of the trees 
and the starry heavens. 2 

Mr. Colbert speaks of another sermon by Dow in 
the woods by candlelight. He says that it was a 
"powerful sermon, under which many were made to 
cry for mercy.'' 

In the days of Dow Methodists believed in the doc- 

1 Stevens's "History of the M. E. Church," Vol. IV., p. 406. 
"Ibid., Vol. III., pp. 469, 470. 


trine of sanctification as a second and distinct bless- 
ing, and the manner in which he sought and obtained 
it is related in his own language as follows : 

I felt something within that wanted to be done away. I 
spoke to one and another concerning the pain which I felt 
in my happiest moments, but no guilt. Some said one thing 
and some another; yet none spoke to my case, but seemed 
to be like physicians that did not understand the nature of 
my disorder. Thus the burden- continued, and sometimes 
seemed greater than the burden of guilt for justification, 
until I fell in with Thomas Dewey, on Cambridge Circuit. 
He told me about Calvin Wooster, in Upper Canada, that 
he enjoyed the blessing of sanctification. I felt a great de- 
sire arise in my heart to see the man, if it might be con- 
sistent with the divine will ; and not long after, I heard that 
he was passing through the circuit, going home to die. 
I immediately rode five miles to the house, but found he 
was gone another five miles farther. I went into the room 
where he was asleep ; he appeared to me more like one from 
the eternal world than like one of my fellow-mortals. I told 
him, when he awoke, who I was, and what I had come for. 
Said he : "God has convicted you for the blessing of sanc- 
tification, and the blessing is to be obtained by the simple 
act of faith, the same as the blessing of justification." I 
persuaded him to tarry in the neighborhood a few days; and 
a couple of evenings after the above, when I had done preach- 
ing, he spoke, or rather whispered out an exhortation, as his 
voice was so broken, in consequence of praying in the stir 
in Upper Canada, where from twenty to thirty were fre- 
quently blessed at a meeting. He told me that if he could 
get sinners under conviction, crying for mercy, they would 
kneel down, a dozen of them, and not rise until they found 
peace; for, said he, we did believe that God would bless 
them, and it was according to our faith. At this time he 
was in a consumption, and a few weeks after expired. While 
whispering out the above exhortation the power which at- 
tended the same reached the hearts of the people, and some 
who were standing and sitting fell like men shot in the field 


of battle; and I felt it like a tremor run through my soul 
and every vein, so that it took away my limb power, and I 
fell to the floor, and by faith saw a greater blessing than I 
had hitherto experienced, or, in other words, felt a convic- 
tion of the need of a greater work of grace in my soul- 
some of the remains of the evil nature, the effect of Adam's 
fall, still remaining, and it my privilege to have it eradicated 
or done away. My soul was in an agony — I could but groan 
out my desires to God. He came to me, and said: "Believe 
the blessing is now." No sooner had the words dropped 
from his lips than I strove to believe the blessing mine now, 
with all the power of my soul; then the burden dropped or 
fell from my breast, and a solid joy and a gentle running 
peace filled my soul. From that time. to this I have not had 
the ecstasy of joy or a downcast spirit as formerly; but 
more of an inward, simple, sweet- running peace, from day 
to day, so that prosperity or adversity does not produce the 
ups and downs as formerly; but my soul is more like the 
ocean, while its surface is uneven by reason of the boisterous 
wind the bottom is still calm; so that a man may be in the 
midst of outward difficulties, and yet the center of the soul 
may be calmly stayed on God. 1 

Dow was a very eccentric man. Many of the anec- 
dotes published in regard to him have some founda- 
tion in truth ; but it is more than probable that most 
of them have been exaggerated, and that some of 
them are apocryphal. I could fill many pages with 
these anecdotes, but I have not space for them, and it 
is doubtful whether their republication would do any 

The opposition which Dow encountered from the 
beginning was equaled only by his pluck and perse- 
verance. Before he and his young wife had entered 

1 Stevens's "History of the M. E. Church," Vol. III., pp. 

201, 202. 


upon their voyage to England and Ireland, he was 
publicly denounced by Nicholas Snethen in the pulpits 
in New York City, and the same man wrote to parties 
in England warning them against Dow as a dangerous 
man. But before Dow left England and Ireland he 
received abundant testimonials of the confidence re- 
posed in him there, and of his great usefulness while 
laboring there. This Nicholas Snethen looked upon 
Dow as a dangerous man, because he preached as an 
independent, and yet this truly loyal man did what he 
could in later years to draw off people from the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church. 


From 1804 to 1807. — Sketches of Preachers. 

The Western Conference met at Griffith's, in Scott 
County, Ky., October 2, 1805. Asbury and Whatcoat 
were both present. There were about twenty-five 
members of the Conference present. Six hours a day 
were steadily occupied with business. On Sabbath 
Bishop Asbury preached to about three thousand peo- 
ple. The Holston District reported numbers in So- 
ciety as follows: 

Whites. Colored. 

Holston 639 32 

Nollichucky 514 29 

French Broad 478 19 

New River 296 Z7 

Clinch 661 53 

Powell's Valley 14S 1 

Carter's Valley 40 

Total 2,773 J 7! 

Grand total, 2,944; a decrease of 360. 

These figures show that the preachers of Holston did 
not have a walk-over ; that worldliness, infidelity, and 
sectarian opposition were contesting every inch of 
ground. Revivals had swept over the country, and the 
reaction had set in. There had been harvesting ; now 
there was sifting. The car of progress was slowing up. 
But Methodism had come to stay, and the pioneers 
were sowing in hope, whether it rained or shined. 

At this session the following were admitted on trial : 
George C. Light, William Hitt, Zadok B. Thaxton, 

FROM 1804 TO 1807. 75 

Thomas Heliums, John Thompson, Charles B. Math- 
eny, Samuel Sellers, David Young, Henry Fisher, 
Moses Ashworth, William Vermillion. 

The Holston District was manned as follows : 

Thomas Wilkerson, presiding elder. 

Holston, Anthony Houston, William Vermillion. 

Nollichucky, Moses Black. 

French Broad, Ralph Lotspeich. 

New River, Joseph Williams. 

Clinch, John McClure, George C. Light. 

Powell's Valley, William Hitt. 

Carter's Valley, Thomas Milligan. 

A new circuit, Carter's Valley, was formed of the beau- 
tiful and fertile valley by that name between Rogers- 
ville and Kingsport, Tenn., and contiguous territory. 

After the session of the Conference Bishops Asbury 
and Whatcoat made their way into the Holston District, 
and thence, by the French Broad route, into North 
Carolina. Bishop Asbury 's journal, in giving an ac- 
count of the journey from Kentucky to South Car- 
olina, fails to mention Bishop Whatcoat. He speaks 
of preaching himself, and of the preaching of others, 
whom he names, but Whatcoat is not named. Why, 
I cannot tell. They rested a day at Stubblefield's, at 
County Line. The Bishop in his journal complains: 

Sure I am that nothing short of the welfare of immortal 
souls, and my sense of duty, could be inducement enough for 
me to visit the West so often. O the roads, the hills, the 
rocks, the rivers, the want of water even to drink; the time 
for secret prayer hardly to be stolen, and the place scarcely 
to be had! My mind nevertheless was kept in peace. I 
prayed in every house I lodged in, and at almost every place 
I stopped at. 

No one but a person addicted to secret prayer can 


fully sympathize with the Bishop in his complaint of a 
lack of opportunity for retirement. His devotion to 
the duties of the closet accounts in part for his power 
in the pulpit; and his constant communion with God, 
together with his habit of praying with all the fam- 
ilies he visited, accounts for his wonderful success in 
planting Methodist Christianity in these ends of the 
earth. The stream never rises higher than the foun- 
tain; and congregations seldom become spiritual un- 
der the ministry of a frivolous, time-serving man ; and 
intense devotion and diligence in the preacher seldom 
fail to develop zeal and spirituality among the people. 

While in Tennessee Asbury met with Moses Black, 
who was at that time on Nollichucky Circuit, and 
mentions with disapproval the fact that Mr. Black, 
forty years old, had married a girl of fifteen. 

The bishops stopped with William Neilson at Warm 
Springs. They breakfasted with Mr. Newton, a Pres- 
byterian minister, near Buncombe Courthouse, a man 
after Asbury's own mind. The two took sweet coun- 
sel together. The bishops stayed a night with Mr. 
Fletcher on Muddy Creek, in what is now Henderson 
County, N. C. ; thence proceeded to South Carolina. 1 

In passing through East Tennessee Bishop Asbury 
was accustomed to visit the Stubblefields at County 
Line. Martin Stubblefield's was a favorite stopping 
place of his. At County Line there were three broth- 
ers, Thomas, Joseph, and Martin Stubblefield. The 
late Wyatt Stubblefield, of Morristown, Tenn., was a 
son of Joseph Stubblefield. Two sons and four 
daughters of Wyatt Stubblefield live in and near Mor- 
ristown, and they are stanch Methodists ; another son, 

'Asbury's "Journal," Vol. III., pp: 179, 180. 

from r8c>4 to 1807. 77 

the Rev. Joseph A. Stubblefield, is joint President 
with Dr. David Sullins, of Centenary Female College, 
Cleveland, Tenn. 1 Mrs. Mary Counts, who resided 
many years in Morristown, and is now in heaven, 
was a daughter of Martin Stubblefield, and Mrs. Bet- 
tie HufTmaster, for many years a venerable member 
of the M. E. Church, South, in Morristown, is a 
daughter of Mrs. Counts. Martin Stubblefield at an 
early day removed a family to Ohio, driving the team 
himself. In Cincinnati the team became frightened, 
ran away and killed him, and he was buried there. 

The Western Conference met at Ebenezer meeting- 
house, Greene County, Tenn., September 15, 1806. 
Bishop Asbury presided. I infer from a statement in 
Asbury's journal that William McKendree, who was 
at that time presiding elder of Cumberland (Middle 
Tennessee) District, was present also. 

Numbers in Society for Holston District were re- 
ported as follows: 

Whites. Colored. 

Holston 600 52 

Nollichucky 576 22 

French Broad 554 16 

New River 380 36 

Clinch 519 42 

Powell's Valley 185 4 

Carter's Valley 209 10 

Total 2,023 182 

Grand total, 3,205; an increase of 261. 

James King, Milton Ladd, Hector Sanford, Freder- 
ick Hood, John Tarver, Abbott Goddard, Hezekiah 

'Since this was penned Professor Stubblefield has resigned 
his position in the college for considerations of health. 


Shaw, John Collins, John Travis, John Crane, and 
Joseph Bennett were admitted on trial. 
The Holston appointments for the coming year were : 

Thomas Wilkerson, presiding elder. 

Holston, Ralph Lotspeich, John Crane. 

Nollichucky, William Houston. 

French Broad, James Axley. 

New River, Thomas Milligan. 

Clinch, Richard Browning, George C. Light. 

Powell's Valley, John McClure. 

Carters Valley, Joshua Oglesby. 

West Point, to be supplied. 

The appointments show that a new circuit, or rath- 
er mission, was added to the district this year. West 
Point was the present site of Kingston, at the con- 
fluence of the Tennessee and Clinch Rivers. The circuit 
embraced the country along the Tennessee and Clinch 
Rivers in the vicinity of Southwest Point. The cir- 
cuit was left to be supplied, but by whom it was sup- 
plied we know not; it was, however, returned at the 
next Conference, under the name of Cumberland, with 
forty-five members. 

Bishop Asbury entered Holston this year from the 
Valley of Virginia by way of Pepper's Ferry. It was 
a season of distressing and alarming drought, and at 
Page's meetinghouse, August 24, he used as a text 
2 Chronicles vii. 13, 14. He says that it was an awful 
talk, and the people were alarmed. He breakfasted at 
Wythe C. H. He enjoyed a night's rest at Charles 
Hardy's, and rode to the salt works. He preached 
at Widow Russell's, and found his hostess as happy 
and cheerful as ever. August 31 he preached at 
Mahanaim meetinghouse, which had been built since 
his last visit to the salt works. Mahanaim church 

FROM 1804 TO 1807. 79 

was a substantial log house situated on the road be- 
tween the salt^ works and Abingdon, about two miles 
southwest of the former. Sick and weary, the Bishop 
continued to go and to preach. On the night of Sep- 
tember 7 he lodged at William Nelson's, "an ancient 
home and stand for Methodists and Methodist preach- 
ing." On Sunday, the 14th, the Bishop preached at a 
stand in the woods, and Mr. McKendree followed. It 
was a season of feeling. It is probable, but not cer- 
tain, that this service took place at Ebenezer, where 
it is likely that the stand was erected to accommodate 
the audiences that were expected at Conference. 

The Conference began its sessions on Saturday, 19th, 
and ended Monday, 21st. The Mississippi preachers 
were not present. One thousand and four hundred 
members had been added in the bounds of the Confer- 
ence during the year. Fifty-five preachers were sta- 
tioned, and all pleased. The preachers were in want; 
and the Bishop, to aid them, parted with his watch, 
a coat, and a shirt. By order of the Conference the 
Bishop preached a farewell discourse from John i. 47- 
50 in memory of Bishop Whatcoat, who died on July 5. 
The Bishop and his traveling companions were lost 
within a mile of Killian's, in Buncombe County, N. C, 
but were fortunate in getting to a schoolhouse to 
shelter for the night. They had no fire, but had a 
bed wherever they could find a bench. The Bishop's 
aid (as he calls him), Moses Lawrence, had a bearskin 
and a dirt floor to spread it on. On Saturday, 26th, 
the Bishop attended a camp meeting on Turkey Creek. 
On Sunday he preached to a congregation of about 
five hundred people; and the Spirit of the Lord was 
present, and a few souls professed converting grace. 


October I the Bishop preached at Samuel Edney's. 
He left Buncombe by Mills' Gap, and he thus describes 
his rough experiences: "I rode, I walked, I sweated, I 
trembled, and my old knees failed. Here are gullies 
and rocks and precipices. We came upon Green Riv- 
er, crossed, and then hobbled and crippled along to 
Martin Edwards, a local preacher." The Bishop's 
journal shows that camp meetings were held on Tur- 
key Creek, Buncombe County, as early as 1806. He 
calls the meeting there that year "a kind of camp meet- 
ing." This county was quite primitive at that time, 
and for a sparsely settled country a congregation of 
five hundred to hear the Bishop on Sunday was quite a ' 
good showing for the meeting. Camp meetings have 
been kept up at Turkey Creek camp ground from that 
day to the present. It has been a very popular camp 
ground. Large crowds have attended from year to 
year, some of the best preachers of the connection have 
preached there, and revivals of great power have 
taken place there from time to time. 

The Western Conference met at Chillicothe, Ohio, 
September 14, 1807. Bishop Asbury presided. Num- 
bers in Society from the Holston District were: 

Whites. Colored. 

Holston 624 56 

Nollichucky 491 22 

French Broad 600 19 

New River 346 40 

Clinch 636 47 

Powell's Valley 153 3 

Carter's Valley 214 11 

Cumberland ^5 

Total 3,109 198 

Grand total, 3,307; a gain of 102. 

FROM 1804 TO 1807. 8l 

The names of those admitted on trial were: John 
Henninger, John Craig, William Lewis, Thomas Kirk- 
man, Edmond Wilcox, Jedidiah McMinn, Jacob Tur- 
man, William Mitchell, Josiah Crawford, Thomas 
Stilwell, Mynus Layton, Henry Mallory. 

John Henninger was afterwards a very popular and 
useful preacher in the Holston Conference. The name 
Cragg should be spelled Craig. The misspelling was 
kept up in the minutes for a number of years. 

The appointments for the Holston District for the 
coming year were : 

Learner Blackman, presiding elder. 
Holston, Caleb W. Cloud, Hezekiah Shaw. 
Nollichucky, Nathan Barnes, Obadiah Edge. 
French Broad, Benjamin Edge. 
Clinch, Miles Harper, Thomas Trower. 
Powell's Valley, Abbott Goddard. 
Carter's Valley, John Henninger. 

A ride of three hundred and sixty miles, after leav- 
ing Chillicothe, brought Asbury to Martin Stubble- 
field's, October 12. There, weary as he was, he 
preached at night, and felt powerfully disposed to 
sing and shout as loud as the youngest. Saturday, 
October 16, finds him at Killian's. On Sunday, Octo- 
ber 18, he preached in Buncombe Courthouse, and the 
people were all attention. He spent a night under the 
hospitable roof of his very dear brother in Christ, 
George Newton, a Presbyterian minister, an Israelite 
indeed. On Monday he made Fletcher's, and then 
proceeded to South Carolina. It is appropriate that 
we should watch the flight of this blazing comet as he 
darts through the Holston skies, but we cannot fol- 
low him beyond our own horizon. 


John Watson was admitted into the traveling con- 
nection in 1792, placed on the supernumerary list in 
1805, made effective in 1807, made supernumerary 
again in 1824, superannuated in 1826, and died in 
1838. His Holston charges were: 1797, Russell; 
1800, Holston, Russell, and New River; 1801, New 
River; 1801-03, presiding elder of Holston District; 
1805, presiding elder of Swannanoa District. We 
thus see that he spent seven years in Holston, and he 
is therefore eminently entitled to be included in the 
story of Holston. Mr. Watson labored three years in 
Kentucky. The remainder of his valuable labors were 
dispensed within the bounds of the Baltimore Confer- 
ence. He was stationed in Washington City in the 
spring of 1807, and his other appointments indicate 
the confidence which was placed in his piety and abil- 
ity. He has often been spoken of in the Holston Confer- 
ence with reverence and affection. He was a man 
of solid though not brilliant parts, and of great earnest- 
ness in the discharge of his ministerial duties. 

Mr. Watson was born in Calvert County, Md., 
and died at the house of Mr. Weller, near Martins- 
burg, Va. His long continuance in the superannuate 
relation accounts for his meager historic recognition. 
Dr. Redford says that during the three years Mr. 
Watson spent in Kentucky he contributed largely to 
the building up of the Church in that section. He or- 
ganized the celebrated "Level Woods" Society, that 
in early days sent out such a salutary influence into all 
the surrounding country, and that is still blessing the 
community within its range of influence. 1 

^'Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. I., p. 210. 

FROM 1804 T0 1807. 83 

Joab Watson entered the itinerancy in 1801, and 
located in 1805. He was appointed to Swannanoa Cir- 
cuit in the spring of 1803, and in the fall of the same 
year to Clinch. In 1804 he was placed in charge of 
Holston Circuit, which was his last pastoral charge. 
After his location he spent many years in North Ala- 
bama, and died west of the Mississippi at an advanced 
age. He was a man of more than ordinary literary 
and scientific acquirements. He was a good Hebrew 
scholar and an able expounder of the word of God. 
His manners were peculiar, and his style in the pulpit 
was not the most popular. He followed teaching as 
well as preaching, and the depth and thoroughness of 
his attainments eminently fitted him for the duties of 
the schoolroom. The preacher who preaches rapidly 
and readily and skims the surface is the popular 
preacher with the masses ; while, on the contrary, the 
man of research and profundity is often required to 
preach to vacant benches. Dr. Bledsoe said of Dr. 
Sparrow that "he preached to empty pews because he 
did not know how to preach to empty heads." 

William Ellington was admitted into the Western 
Conference in 1804, and located in 1808. His first 
year of itinerant service was rendered on Nollichucky 
Circuit. His other works were in Kentucky and Ohio. 
Dr. Jacob Young became acquainted with the Elling- 
ton family in Russell County, Va., in 1803, and 
William Ellington was one of this family. Russell 
County made an early start in raising up Methodist 
traveling preachers; and up to the present date it has 
put more than its quota of laborers into the itinerant 

Thomas Lasley was the third son of Manoah Lasley, 


and was born in Virginia March 31, 1782. He was 
converted during the revival of 1800, which swept 
over Kentucky and Tennessee. Feeling it to be his 
duty to preach, he went to a country school six 
months, where he learned to write and gained some 
knowledge of figures. At a quarterly conference 
held for Barren Circuit June 12, 1804, he was licensed 
to preach, and a short time afterwards admitted into 
Conference. Lasley was right in going to school, for 
a call to preach necessarily implies a call to prepare 
to preach. The wise mechanic sharpens his tools be- 
fore beginning his job. In the history of this man 
we shall be surprised at the learning which he evinced, 
and the neat, faultless style with which he wrote, after 
this small educational beginning. He joined the 
Western Conference in 1804, and located in 1812. 
Nollichuckv was his first circuit. After his year in 
Holston he labored in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Ken- 
tucky. In 1 809- 1 p he was the traveling companion of 
Bishop McKendree. At the Western Conference of 
1805, a call for volunteers being made for Mississippi 
and Louisiana, Elisha W. Bowman volunteered for 
the latter State, and C. W. Cloud, William Pattison, 
and Mr. Lasley volunteered for the former. The 
company passed through the wilderness in thirteen 
days, having packed provisions for man and beast on 
their horses ; but the provisions being exhausted at the 
end of eleven days, there was an enforced fast of two 
days. Air. Bowman proceeded to New Orleans, while 
Mr. Lasley and his colleague remained to cooperate 
with Blackman and Barnes on the Natchez Mission. 
The minutes of 1806 represent Lasley as appointed to 
Wachita and Bowman to Opelousas, The reverse, 

FROM 1804 TO 1807. 85 

however, was true: Lasley was appointed to Ope- 
lousas. His difficulties and dangers in swimming deep 
waters and passing through miry swamps to reach his 
field of labor were appalling. In climbing out of a 
stream up a steep, muddy bank, his horse became so 
crippled that he could not put the foot of his crippled 
limb to the ground, and was trembling with agony. 
Mr. Lasley's condition was sad ; he was far from home, 
a stranger in a strange land, in the midst of an ugly 
swamp, with no human help at hand. But "Man's 
extremity is God's opportunity." Mr. Lasley's heart 
sinking within him, he threw himself on his knees be- 
fore God, and prayed earnestly for God to heal his 
horse and bless him with faith and courage. He arose 
from his knees to find the horse perfectly sound. Mr. 
Lasley established a circuit three hundred miles in 
circumference, and did a very successful year's work. 
At the close of the year his financial resources were 
exhausted, and his clothes worn out ; and his appoint- 


ment to Red River, in Kentucky and Tennessee, was a 
relief from the hardships of the past year, although 
he would willingly have spent the remnant of his days 
laboring among the people of Louisiana. In 1810 he 
was fortunately married to Miss Susan, a daughter 
of Ambrose Nelson. In the division of the Western 
Conference in 181 1 he fell into the Ohio Conference. 
In 1812 he located and became a tiller of the soil. As 
a local preacher he was diligent and useful. He was 
successful in business, and made ample provision for 
his family. In 1835 he entered the Kentucky Confer- 
ence in an effective relation, and was presiding elder 
of Greensburg District for two years, laboring success- 
fully and usefully ; but his health failing again, he took 


a supernumerary relation and later located again, and 
returned to a small but well-cultivated farm to spend 
in the bosom of his family the evening of his days. 
He labored as a local preacher with more than ordi- 
nary success. He kept up a monthly appointment 
forty-five miles away from home, and without remu- 
neration, for a number of years. It is surprising with 
what self-complacency some people professing to love 
the Lord will sit month after month under the min- 
istry of a local preacher without feeling under the 
slightest financial obligation to him. Indeed, I have 
known some Methodists who seemed to think that the 
honor of their attendance upon the ministry of a local 
preacher was a sufficient compensation to him for his 
services, however laborious and valuable. It is a 
shame to our common Christianity that there have 
been well-to-do Methodists who are accustomed to 
take an inventory of the holdings of preachers, both 
local and traveling, before they are willing to contrib- 
ute anything to their support, thus placing their grudg- 
ing contributions to the support of the ministry on the 
list of charities. It is to be hoped that an increase of 
piety and intelligence in our membership is raising 
them above this Pickwickian sort of Christianity. 

Mr. Lasley died at the residence of his son-in-law, 
M. McMillan, in McMinnville, Tenn., January 20, 
1857, in his seventy-fifth year. 1 

Richard Whatcoat deserves mention in Holston his- 
tory because, before his election to the office of Gen- 
eral Superintendent, he was for some time the travel- 
ing companion of Bishop Asbury, and preached occa- 

"Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. II., pp. 148-166. 




sionally in Holston, because he labored amongst us as 
Bishop after his election, and because he sustained to 
us the relation of General Superintendent, whether 
present with us or absent. He was born in Glouces- 
tershire, England, in 1736; was converted September 
3, 1758; sanctified March 28, 1761 ; began to travel in 
1769; came to America in 1784; was elected General 
Superintendent in May, 1800; and died at Dover, Del., 
July 5, 1806. He greatly excelled in the virtues of 
gravity, sincerity, and simplicity. He moved exten- 
sively through England, Ireland, and Wales. He 
served the Methodist connection in America in various 
important stations, in cities and towns, on circuits and 
districts, with pious faithfulness. He served six years 
in the general superintendency. No one ever saw 
him light or frivolous. No one ever heard him speak 
evil of any one. No one ever heard him speak an 
idle word. He was dead to envy, pride, and praise. 
He was careful without covetousness, and neat in his 
apparel without vanity. He was not a man of great 
erudition, but he was mighty in the Scriptures. His 
knowledge of Scripture was so great and so accurate 
that he was called a concordance. He gave himself 
much to reading. Although elected to the bishopric 
in advanced life, he traveled annually three or four 
thousand miles. He was a prodigy of pain and pa- 
tience for his last thirteen weeks. He died at the 
residence of Richard Bassett, Esq. 1 

Bishop Whatcoat was above medium size, robust, 
but not corpulent. He was a man of venerable ap- 
pearance. A man of truly apostolic character, he 

General Minutes, Vol. I., pp. 145, 146. 

FROM 1804 TO 1807. $9 

commanded universal respect. His face indicated a 
well-disciplined mind and a heart full of love divine. 
His reproofs, though always faithful, were given with 
such tenderness as to prevent needless pain and to 
secure the best results. He was always about his 
Master's business. His remains lie in Dover Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church burial grounds. 1 

There has been among the descendants and admirers 
of Jesse Lee an abiding regret that he was not elected 
to the office of bishop in 1800, when Richard What- 
coat was chosen to that office. Lee's wit and humor 
were in the way of his promotion to that dignity at 
that early day of puritanic notions among Methodist 
preachers. Besides, his positiveness and independence 
of character, coupled with enlarged ideas of freedom 
and opposition to prerogative, caused many of the 
members of the General Conference to vote for a man 
more negative and more symmetrical than he, though 
greatly inferior to him in physical and intellectual 
vigor. But it was then as in the days of Solomon, 
and, indeed, as it is always, "The race is not to the 
swift, nor the battle to the strong; . . . but time and 
chance happeneth to them all." Whatcoat filled the of- 
fice creditably and usefully ; but Lee was greater than 
bishop — just as Clay, Calhoun, Webster, each was 
greater than President. As to the election of 1800, 
"the unkindest cut of all" was that Lee was defeated 
by a false report put in circulation just before the 
election, and not corrected soon enough to rescue him 
from defeat. This simply shows that men have al- 

a Dr. Laban Clark as quoted in "Methodism in Tennessee," 
Vol. II., pp. 67, 68. 


ways been men, and that the former days were not 
better than these. 

Ralph Lotspeich joined the Western Conference in 
1802; and died June 15, 1813. He traveled in Ken- 
tucky, Ohio, and the Holston country. He was ap- 
pointed to the French Broad Circuit in 1805, and to 
Holston in 1806. In the bounds of the old French 
Broad Circuit he has a number of relatives by his 
name; and so far as they are connected with any 
Church, they are generally Methodists. He was of 
German descent. He was a son of Christopher Lots- 
peich, who emigrated from Germany to Culpepper 
County, Va., and afterwards removed to Greene 
County, Tenn. Christopher was buried at Harrison's 
meetinghouse, on Nollichucky. James Lotspeich, a 
brother of Ralph, was born and died in Greene Coun- 
ty. His son, Amos, still lives, and he has children liv- 
ing in Greene, Hamblen, and other East Tennessee 
counties. This is a Methodist family out and out; 
and it has given to the country some of its best cit- 
izens. James Lotspeich married as a second wife a 
Whittenberg, and his widow is still living. 

Ralph Lotspeich was not endowed with great nat- 
ural gifts; but being deeply pious, and very studious, 
he became deservedly esteemed as a sound and useful 
gospel preacher. He was a weeping prophet, fre- 
quently weeping over his congregations and enforcing 
his exhortations with tears. Practical and experi- 
mental religion was his theme, while his life was an 
excellent comment on his teachings. His health be- 
gan to fail nine months before his death ; but he con- 
tinued to travel till three or four weeks before his 
dissolution. His complaint, which finally took the 

FROM 1804 TO 1807. 91 

form of inflammation of the kidneys, bade defiance to 
medical skill. He suffered much for nine or ten days 
before his death, but was never heard to complain. 
On his deathbed he frequently sang his favorite lines : 

Great spoils T shall win 
From death, hell, and sin; 
'Midst outward affliction, 
Shall feel Christ within. 

Having requested a friend to adjust his temporal af- 
fairs, and ascertaining how much money he had left, 
he said with a smile : "That will keep my wife and 
children one year, and the Lord will provide." The 
day on which he died, being asked how he was, he 
replied, "I can only say. I am sure of heaven ; not a 
doubt has appeared since my sickness began ;" and 
just before he breathed his last he said, "Tell my old 
friends all is well, all is well." 1 

The Rev. James Quinn tells the following story of 
Lotspeich : On Quinn's last round of quarterly meet- 
ings before Conference, on the Scioto District in 1813, 
at the close of the meeting on Scioto Circuit, Mr. 
Lotspeich said to him : "Brother Quinn, I shall not be 
at Conference. I wish you to obtain a location for 
me. I must retire. I have struggled as long as I 
can. I have exhausted the principal part of my 
funds, and I shall soon have nothing left. This I 
would not regard if I had no family; but my duty to 
my family is, in my judgment, paramount to every 
other consideration." "O brother," said Mr. Quinn, 
"try it a little longer ; trust in the Lord ; it may be 
that matters will improve ; the people will certainly lay 

"'General Minutes," Vol. I., p. 238. 


your case to heart." "No," said Lotspeich, "the matter 
is settled with me. Our people will never in my time 
make provision for a married ministry." So saying 
he turned off and wept; and Mr. Quinn wept too, for 
the same feelings were struggling in his breast. They 
prayed and parted to see each other's face no more on 
earth. As Mr. Quinn was on his way to Conference, 
one met him with the inquiry: "Have you heard of 
Brother Lotspeich's death?" "Is he dead?" exclaimed 
Quinn. "Yes; he died at Dr. McDowell's, on Deer 
Creek, two weeks after he left us, and died shouting." 
He was taken from the evil to come. This man of 
God wept at the thought of locating on earth, so a 
merciful God located him in heaven. 1 

George C. Light entered the Western Conference 
in 1805, and located in 1809 in the Baltimore Confer- 
ence. He was born in Westmoreland County, Va., 
February 28, 1785. His father removed from Vir- 
ginia to Kentucky, and settled in Maysville (then 
called Limestone), where he lived till 1799. The fam- 
ily then removed to Ohio. In 1804, when he was in 
his eighteenth year, at a meeting in his father's neigh- 
borhood, he was powerfully converted at the "mourn- 
ers' bench." Before his conversion he was a society 
youth, taking an active part in the amusements com- 
mon among society people at that day; but after his 
conversion he renounced all purely worldly pastimes, 
and endeavored to win his friends and companions 
from the frivolities of the world to the more serious 
and yet more joyful exercises of religion. His gifts 
gave him prominence in class and prayer meetings, 


Life of James Quinn," pp. 221, 222. 

FROM 1804 T0 1807. 93 

for he was powerful in prayer and exhortation. Wil- 
liam Burke, presiding elder of the district, observing 
the signs of promise in the young- man, invited him 
to attend one of his quarterly meetings, where he put 
him up to exhort, then to preach. Mr. Burke, satis- 
fied that he was called* to preach, sent him to assist 
Jacob Young, then in charge of the Muskingum and 
Kanawha Circuit. Mr. Young was in the bounds of 
his work, in feeble health, when some person rapped 
at the door of the house where he was stopping. A 
tall young man entered, in slovenly dress, but of keen 
eyes, high forehead, and manly step. He took his 
seat by the fire. The man of the house, who was in- 
quisitive, said: "Are you traveling?" "Yes, sir." 
"Where are you from?" "Clermont County, Ohio." 
"Where are you going to?" "Marietta." "What is 
your business?" "I am hunting for a Methodist 
preacher by the name of Jacob Young." "Well, he 
is here at the table." Mr. Young then asked him his 
business with him. He replied: "I am come to help 
you preach. I am sent here by the Rev. William 
Burke, presiding elder." "What is your name?" in- 
quired Young. He answered : "George C. Light." 

He remained on this circuit till October, when he 
was admitted into Conference. He was appointed to 
Clinch Circuit in 1805 and also in 1806. Having mar- 
ried, he located. The Methodists of that day were 
poor, the Societies small, the members imperfectly 
educated on the question of ministerial support, and 
the marriage of a preacher almost necessitated his 
location. But at the same time there were ample 
fields for theexercise of the talents of local preachers. 
The circuits were large, the Societies widely separated, 


and most of them could be served by only week-day 
preaching. The local preachers gave the people Sun- 
day preaching, and in the absence of the circuit rider 
married the couples and buried the dead. They also 
assisted in protracted meetings in their own, and some- 
times distant, neighborhoods.* The city and village 
stations were few, the circuits large, and the local 
preachers preached wherever there was an open house 
and a congregation without the fear of a writ of ejec- 
tion from some pastor. Indeed, if a local preacher 
did not make it appear at the fourth quarterly con- 
ference that he had preached much during the year, 
he usually got a hackling from the presiding elder. 
It mattered not where he preached, so he preached to 
immortal souls. If he did this, he heard nothing 
but plaudits. It was silence, not preaching, that gave 
offense at that day. 

Mr. Light was diligent and useful while a local 
preacher. In 182 1 he was readmitted into the travel- 
ing connection, in the Kentucky Conference. After 
his reentrance into the itinerancy, he filled some of 
the most important and honorable stations in the Ken- 
tucky and Missouri Conferences, as circuit preacher, 
station preacher, presiding elder, and Agent of the 
American Colonization Society. On account of his 
wife's health and his own he was transferred to the 
Mississippi Conference in 1849, where he was effective 
until 1859, when he was placed on the superannuate 

Dr. Light died suddenly of rheumatism of the heart 
at the residence of Dr. C. K. Marshall,- in Yicksburg, 
Miss. After his superannuation he continued to 
preach as much and as often as he was able; but for 

FROM 1804 TO 1807. 95 

rheumatism in his shoulder he was as able to preach 
as he ever was, and could have preached, as he 
claimed, three times on the Sabbath without exhaus- 
tion. On the last two days of his life he had some 
bodily intimation of his approaching end, and in com- 
pany with Dr. Camp he talked much of divine things, 
commenting beautifully upon various passages of Holy 
Writ. Walking from the Book Depository to the 
house of Dr. Marshall, a severe pain struck him in the 
region of his heart, and to Dr. Marshall, who met 
him at the door, he said : "I am almost dead." He 
entered, was seated, and while expatiating on the years 
he had spent in preaching, his early labors, and the 
success with which God had honored him, his right 
hand dropped and his head fell forward, his chin rest- 
ing on his breast. Dr. Marshall caught him and sus- 
tained him in his arms, while, without a groan or 
struggle, his spirit passed away. "He was not; for 
God took him." 

Dr. Light was honored by some institution with the 
degree of Doctor of Divinity, and well did he deserve 
this honor. He was a remarkable man. Possessing 
fine natural endowments, with a wide grasp of thought, 
he used his faculties and attainments to the best ad- 
vantage. Error in doctrine fell before the well- 
mounted battery of his logic and eloquence. Though 
careless in dress, a real fault, he was commanding in 
person, and he possessed a robust constitution. He 
was affable and courteous, and was therefore a wel- 
come guest wherever he went. 1 

John Crane was born in 1787 in Eaton's Station, a 


Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. III., pp. 126-134. 


fort about two miles below Nashville. His father, 
Lewis Crane, was amongst the first settlers in Cum- 
berland, and one of the first fruits of Methodism in 
that section. John was born at a time when all the 
settlers there were in constant danger of massacre by 
the Indians, and he was taught the fear of God. He 
had serious religious thoughts at the age of six, and 
at the age of twelve he experienced saving grace in 
the great revival which began about that time in the 
Cumberland country. He was one of the most re- 
markable youths of his age; for at the age of twelve 
he frequently exhorted, and his exhortations were ac- 
customed to produce weeping among his hearers. 

Mr. Crane was admitted into the traveling connec- 
tion at the age of nineteen. He joined the Western 
Conference in 1806. He traveled Holston Circuit 
from the fall of 1806 to the spring of 1807, and com- 
pleted the year on French Broad Circuit. On these 
circuits his labors were honored and blessed of God, 
and he was the instrument of bringing many souls to 
the knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ. In 
successive years he labored with great zeal and success 
in Ohio, Louisiana, Missouri, and Kentucky. In 181 1 
he was stationed on Duck River Circuit, where hun- 
dreds flocked to hear him preach by day and by night, 
while the earth was trembling under repeated earth- 
quake shocks. About the first of February, 1812, he 
was compelled by overfatigue and a severe cold to 
desist from his labors; and about the 14th of 
that month his spirit took its flight. He died at the 
home of a Mr. Mitchell, on Duck River. Not long 
before he expired he died awav, and it was thought 
that his spirit had fled ; but in a little time he revived, 

FROM 1804 TO 1807. 97 

and cried out: "What has brought me back? I have 
been on the very margin of heaven. O father, I love 
you; but I have a Father in the kingdom of heaven; 
I shall soon be with him ; I have not a doubt of my ac- 
ceptance with God; my body will soon be laid low in 
the dust, but this mortal shall put on immortality." 
He exhorted the people around him to meet him in 
heaven, while he calmly bade them a last and long 
farewell. What a sermon there is in such a trium- 
phant death! What an assurance there is in it of 
the genuineness and power of the Christian religion 
and of a glorious immortality ! 


Thomas and Sarah Wilkerson, 

In Thomas Wilkerson we meet with one of the 
strong men of the Church. He stood high as a man 
and preacher. He is said to have fteen a favorite of 
Bishop Asbury for the bishopric. He married three 
times within the bounds of the Holston Conference, 
died a member of the Holston Conference, and 
was during a large part of his life identified with 
Holston Methodism. I knew him personally in his 
old age, when he resided near Abingdon, Va'., and I 
yet have a distinct and sacred memory of his venerable, 
patriarchal appearance and manners. I heard him 
preach once at Emory and Henry College, a plain, 
sententious sermon. It was not in his palmy days. 
I heard him exhort occasionally during a revival meet- 
ing in Abingdon in 1849; an d his exhortations were 
full of tenderness and spiritual power. He was ad- 
mitted into the traveling connection in 1792; located 
in 1807 ; was readmitted into the Holston Conference in 
1827, placed on the supernumerary roll in 1828, and 
he was either supernumerary or superannuate to the 
day of his death, which occurred February 3, 1856. 

Mr. Wilkerson traveled in Eastern Virginia two 
and a half years, in Kentucky and Middle Tennessee 
three years, and was then (1798) appointed to Holston 
Circuit. His appointments after that were Yadkin, 
in North Carolina ; Baltimore, Hinkstone, and Lexing- 


ton, in Kentucky; Cumberland, in Tennessee; Nash- 
ville, Lexington Town (a station). In 1805 and in 
1806 he was appointed presiding elder of Holston 
District. After his readmission (1827), he was as- 
signed to the presiding eldership of French Broad 
District, but at the end of the year he ceased to be 
effective on account of feeble health. In 1829-30 he 
was supernumerary on Abingdon Station, and also in 
charge, and he gave great satisfaction as preacher 
and pastor. 

Thomas Wilkerson was born in Amelia County, 
Virginia, April 2.J, 1772. His parents were .uncon- 
verted, hence he was not brought up in the admonition 
of the Lord. The history of his conviction, conver- 
sion, call to the ministry, and of his labors and trials 
in the ministry, is a story of thrilling interest. In his 
thirteenth year he was seriously convicted of sin under 
the preaching of the despised Methodist preachers; 
but by associating with wicked companions he became 
sevenfold more the child of the devil than before. 
He sought comfort in infidelity, scoffed at religion; 
but like the devils, he believed and trembled. At the 
age of eighteen he was powerfully awakened. After 
spending a Sabbath in its shameful desecration, he was 
informed of a revival of religion in the neighborhood, 
and at this information his repugnance to religion 
ripened into malice against the instruments and sub- 
jects of the excitement. But a harsh remark of his 
about the fruits of the revival, in which he predicted 
that his companions, some of whom had been sub- 
jects of converting grace, would soon be as wicked 
as ever, reacted and threw him into an awful gloom; 
the pains of hell gat hold upon him, and his weight 


of guilt seemed sufficient to crush him into endless 
ruin. He hastened to his father's orchard, and spent 
the night in prayer. The following week was spent 
in agonizing prayer, and on the next Sabbath he 
surprised his friends by joining the Church. The 
next week was spent about as the preceding had been 
spent — in intolerable distress. He says: "About dark 
I took to the woods in despair. As I was making my 
way through the bushes, I thought I saw a flash of 
lightning, which was almost instantly repeated. I 
recollect nothing more that occurred until I found 
myself on my feet with my hands raised, while loud 
shouts seemed to burst from the bottom of my heart." 
He did not know that what he had realized was reli- 
gion, and he tried to return to his former state of 
mourning; but as soon as he would fall to his knees, 
he would involuntarily rise to his feet and commence 
shouting. This he thought was very strange, as he 
had been violently opposed to shouting. While rea- 
soning on his case he lost his comfortable frames and 
feelings and was plunged again into darkness and de- 
spair. On the next Sabbath he attended class meeting, 
and recounted his experiences and exercises, and al- 
though he was overburdened with shame and sorrow, 
some of the brethren smiled, and this seemed to him 
cruel and unfeeling. But these brethren had been 
along the same road, they knew the young man's spir- 
itual whereabouts, they saw the rainbow of hope that 
spanned his cloud of, gloom, and their smile was one 
of complacency and not of contempt. A few days 
afterwards, while on his knees in a grove, his burden 
was lifted, and he felt the love and joy which he had 
felt before. He there obtained the faith of assurance, 


and never afterwards doubted the genuineness and 
thoroughness of his conversion. I am writing his- 
tory," not philosophy, but I take the liberty of remark- 
ing that conversion, a term too superficial to express 
the idea as understood by Methodists, is not simply 
a change of purpose or a reformation of life; but it 
is a tremendous psychic revolution, a radical renova- 
tion, a new creation, by which old things are abolished 
and all things become new. No other change can 
bring sweet peace of mind and introduce us into the 
joys of the great salvation. This psychic change can 
supervene only upon a state of absolute passivity, in 
which the helpless soul becomes perfectly amenable 
to the divine suggestion contained in some Scripture 
passage, or some Scripture sentiment, or some cor- 
rect view of the divine economy in the work of re- 
demption. The flash of light which Mr. Wilkerson 
saw was a psychic phenomenon, which indicated that 
the state of passivity had been reached. This strange 
light has been seen by thousands of others. Moses 
saw it in the burning bush; and it is probable that 
then and there he experienced that mighty change 
which made him indeed and in truth a child of God 
and fitted him for his future labors, trials, and respon- 

Mr. Wilkerson immediately became so impressed 
with a view of the lost condition of sinners and of 
the endless ruin to which they were exposed, and 
gave himself so constantly to prayer for them, that he 
lost flesh and seemed to be wasting away with con- 
sumption. His physician, however, believing that his 
disease was mainly in the mind, and so stating, Mr. 
Wilkerson modified his habits, and soon recovered 


strength. He was in a short time put in charge of 
a class, and then urged by the preacher to enter the 
traveling connection. Convinced of his unfitness for 
the sacred office of the ministry, he determined to 
marry in order to quiet his own mind and to avoid 
the solicitations of his friends. Preparatory to this 
step he planted a crop, and when urged to enter Con- 
ference he would reply that he had to take care of his 
crop ; but the Lord took care of it for him by sending 
a killing frost, which destroyed the larger part of it, 
while his neighbors, with the exception of his father, 
escaped the misfortune. This he took as a judg- 
ment sent upon him for his disobedience, and he 
then yielded to his conscience and the advice of his 
friends and entered the traveling connection. On his 
first circuit, Franklin, feeling his incompetency for 
the work and lack of usefulness, his mental distress 
reduced him to a skeleton ; but he was soon encour- 
aged by being made instrumental in bringing a few 
souls to Christ. While he was on Greensville Circuit, 
in Eastern Virginia, some incautious brethren told 
him that on a certain occasion he had preached a 
great sermon. This inflamed his vanity ; but the 
Physician of souls applied the proper remedy in entail- 
ing upon him disastrous failures in his attempts to 
preach for a week, and he fell into despair of ever 
being able to recover his lost gifts. One night he 
went to bed in great mental agony, and while musing 
on his wretched situation a great light shone round 
about him. His first impression was that the day of 
judgment had come. A young man who was in bed 
with him, and was unconverted, was suddenly seized 
with agony. The whole family below arose from 


their beds. All the inmates of the house assembled, 
and realized a powerful baptism of the Holy Ghost, 
and the remainder of the night was spent in praising 
God. The next day Mr. Wilkerson was humble 
enough to justify the restoration of his lost gifts. 

In the spring of 1795 Mr. Wilkerson and John 
Buxton, having volunteered for the West, started 
to Kentucky. They spent a few days in East Tennessee, 
and attended the Conference at Earnest's, in Greene 
County, Tenn. At that time Mr. Wilkerson was suf- 
fering with chills, and feared that the exposure to 
which he would be subjected in the wilderness would 
be fatal to him. They packed provisions for man 
and beast for a ride of two hundred miles, and had 
to lie on the ground at night. The first night of this 
experience he had an ague, and that was his last 
ague. What he thought would kill him cured him. 
From this time his health improved. In 1798 he was 
sent to Holston Circuit with that excellent man, To- 
bias Gibson. Gibson's health failed, and Wilkerson 
had all the work to do. Also the preacher on Clinch 
(or Russell) Circuit, resolving to quit traveling, re- 
quested Wilkerson to annex that circuit to his. He 
thus had the work of three men to do. We have only 
the authority of Mr. Wilkerson himself for this last 
statement. He names the man who abandoned Rus- 
sell Circuit Jeremiah Minter, a name which does not 
appear in the minutes, and of which I find no other 
mention. Returning to his Virginia Conference in 
1799, he was appointed to Yadkin Circuit, an extensive 
field which extended so far west as to embrace Bun- 
combe County, N. C. He was appointed to Balti- 
more Circuit in 1800, and on that charge witnessed a 


pleasing revival. He was appointed to Hinkstone and 
Lexington Circuit (Ky.) in 1801 with William Burke, 
and there they had a revival. This appointment 
brought him into immediate connection with the great 
revival, in which he was an efficient instrument. When 
he was on the Cumberland Circuit, he was eyewitness 
of the remarkable exercises which characterized that 
work — jerking, running, dancing, etc. In 1803 he 
was appointed to Lexington Town, a station, because 
of his feeble health. "Lexington Town" was a pleo- 
nasm to distinguish the station from the circuit. The 
Church in Lexington had petitioned for a separation 
from the circuit, and accordingly a station was 
formed, the first in the State. At that date stations 
were very rare anywhere in the connection. The 
towns were usually centers of circuits, and two or 
three preachers were placed on the circuits. This, 
perhaps, lightened somewhat the burden of ministerial 
support, relieved the preachers of the .necessity for 
the preparation of a large number of sermons, thus 
giving them more time for the active duties of the 
field, furnished the people with a greater variety of 
pulpit talent than they would have had otherwise, and 
maintained in the congregations a greater readiness 
to hear and a fresher and more buoyant ministration 
than are usually realized in the settled pastorate of 
other Churches, or even in our present station sys- 
tem. 1 

1 The bulk of the above items are from the pen of Mr. 
Wilkerson, as published in the Southwestern Christian Ad- 
vocate in 1841, and reproduced in "Methodism in Tennessee," 
Vol. I., pp. 238-259. 


In 1805 and 1806 Mr. Wilkerson was appointed 
presiding elder of the Holston District, a large and la- 
borious field. Here his long rides and incessant la- 
bors broke him down, and at the end of his second 
year on the district he located. About the time of 
his location he married, and settled on a farm a short 
distance east of Strawberry Plains, Knox County, 
Tenn., and labored with his own hands, fearing, as 
he was heard to say, that he would come to want, 
although his temporal circumstances were by no 
means gloomy. The lady whom he married was a 
Mrs. Cobb, a widow. She did not live a great while 
after the marriage, and died without children. I have 
not learned her maiden name. At her death she left 
all her property, consisting of land and negroes, to 
her husband. 

Some time after her death Mr. Wilkerson mar- 
ried an intelligent widow at Strawberry Plains, 
Mrs. Williams, the mother of Mrs. Stringfield, wife 
of the Rev. Thomas Stringfield. Mrs. Williams be- 
longed to one of the most respectable and influential 
families of Tennessee. She had an ample fortune, 
and lived in elegant simplicity. After her marriage 
to Mr. Wilkerson she observed the same manner of 
life. They lived on a beautiful and fertile farm on the 
Holston River, some fifteen miles east of Knoxville. 
Here was displayed a liberal hospitality. Here weary 
travelers and faithful ministers found a hearty wel- 
come. Mrs. Wilkerson presided in her home and at 
her table in an unaffected and queenly manner. She 
was a woman of culture and piety, was neat and plain 
in her apparel, and she always conducted herself as 


became a woman professing godliness. Her death 
was peaceful. 1 

Mrs. Wilkerson's maiden name was King. She 
was a daughter of Col. James King, and was born 
in Fort Knox, the site of what is now the city of 
Knoxville. Colonel King was appointed commandant 
of the post by Governor Martin, of North Carolina. 
After Colonel King's retirement to private life, at 
Strawberry Plains, his daughter, Sarah, spent her 
time partly at home, partly with her brother William 
at "Shady," near the Cranberry Iron Works, and 
partly with her brother James at King's Meadows 
(now Bristol). James was a minister of the Pres- 
byterian Church. She was educated at Salem, N. C, 
under Moravian influence. Here she developed that 
gentleness and gentility which, joined to strong will 
force, impressed all her acquaintances with her dig- 
nity of grace and her grace of dignity. She was a 
born leader. At Salem she contracted a strong friend- 
ship with Micajah Watkins, a young heiress of Vir- 
ginia. These friends became sisters through the mar- 
riage of her brother James to Micajah. Sarah King 
was married to William Williams, of North Carolina, 
April 10, 1808, and they made their home at Straw- 
berry Plains, Tenn. Mr. Williams became a farmer 
and merchant. The young couple were blessed with 
wealth, culture, and fine social standing. Mr. Wil- 
liams lived ten years after his marriage, dying of 
pulmonary consumption. While William and Sarah 
Williams were traveling for his health, they both pro- 
fessed religion in Raleigh, N. C, and joined the Meth- 


Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. I., pp. 258, 259. 

Thomas and sarah wilkerson. 107 

odist Church. They received Church letters written 
on parchment. The proposition to join the Methodist 
Church came from Mr. Williams.^ She at first op- 
posed the step on two grounds : their families on both 
sides were Presbyterians, and then the Methodists 
were such common people ! "Yes," he replied, "but 
they have vital Christianity." Mrs. Williams began 
her Christian life with a childlike faith and a thor- 
ough consecration to God, from which she never de- 
parted. When she found that her husband must die, 
she conveyed him to his father's home. His dying 
injunction was: "Sallie, see to it that our child mar- 
ries a Christian." After the death of her husband, her 
brother James brought her back to her home at Straw- 
berry Plains. Here her social life was regulated in 
conformity to her Church vows. The elegant matron 
laid aside her jewels and costly array, not for the 
season of mourning alone, but for all time, and donned 
the plainest Methodist costumes. In the course of 
time, she was happily married to the Rev. Thomas 
Wilkerson. Mrs. Mary Ray, a step-granddaughter 
of Mr. Wilkerson, remembers him as gentle, cour- 
teous, and hospitable. His voice was love and his 
looks benign. He was not, however, equal to his wife 
in general culture, and probably not characterized by 
the same degree of self-sacrifice. She heartily coop- 
erated with him in his ministerial labors. She was 
thoroughly versed in the sacred Scriptures. She was 
the counselor and succorer of many. Her life was 
largely blended with that of her son-in-law, Thomas 
Stringfield, who was a man after her own heart, and 
she approved of his course and encouraged him in 
his labors as a champion of Methodism. Between 


Mrs. Williams and her adopted son there sprang up 
a lifelong friendship. The complete consecration of 
each to Christ was the undying bond between them. 
When others charged the bold controversialist and 
pamphleteer with being a spendthrift and a waster of 
her daughter's means, and when even her prudent 
husband counseled greater moderation in his expend- 
itures for literary purposes, she held up his hands and 
bade him go forward. She gave him more than words 
of encouragement ; she backed them with substan- 
tial aid and comfort. When his literary ventures had 
begun to produce financial embarrassment, she came 
to him one day and placed ten thousand dollars in his 
hands, and authorized him to use it in the promotion 
of the cause of God. There was nothing sordid or 
temporizing about this great-souled woman. Her 
name was held in the profoundest reverence by those 
who knew her best. Having resolved to live with 
her daughter at Nashville, she had her goods packed 
for removal. She was sitting by her fireside engaged 
in conversation when she sank under a stroke of apo- 
plexy, and, realizing that her end had come, she said: 
"O, what a blessed thing it is to be always ready 
to die!" She took her flight on Sabbath, November 
18, 1838. A very plain slab marks the resting place 
of her dust at Strawberry Plains. 1 

After the death of his second wife, Mr. Wilkerson 
married Mrs. Millie Clark, relict of Mr. Job Clark, 
of Washington County, Va., and situated himself 
on her farm, not far from Abingdon, Va., where he 
lived till the day of his death. This also was a happy 

^Letter of Mrs. Mary Ray. 


marriage. Mrs. Wilkerson was a pious and intelli- 
gent lady, and much beloved by all who knew her. 

Mr. Wilkerson was of medium height, very erect 
and well-proportioned. In his make-up he was well- 
rounded and compact. He had symmetrical features 
and a benevolent face. He was graceful and dignified 
in his movements, though by no means stiff and form- 
al in his social habits. His voice was full, clear, and 
musical, his manner in the pulpit grave and free from 
affectation, and his style neat and simple. He was a 
model man and a model preacher. He was plain but 
neat in dress and polished in his manners. His no- 
tions of integrity and personal honor were of a high 
order. He despised littleness. He abhorred all hol- 
low pretension, and most of all when exhibited in the 
sacred stand. He was scrupulously just in his busi- 
ness transactions, and those who had business dealings 
with him were made to feel that they had to do with 
the firmness of an old Roman when truth, justice, and 
personal rights were involved. But he was not aus- 
tere; his kindness to his friends was hearty and sin- 
cere. As a friend and companion he was affable and 
agreeable. His sermons were usually characterized 
by great earnestness, but he was never boisterous. 
His delivery was deliberate and his enunciation dis- 
tinct and well-modulated. His imagination was suffi- 
ciently strong, but it never ran away with him. His 
mind grasped vigorously the main features of his sub- 
ject, and adjusted them with great force to the lead- 
ing design of the sermon. 1 

'"Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. I., p. 238, and a sketch 
of Thomas Wilkerson from the pen of Dr. C. D. Smith, in 
Holston Methodist. 


Mr. Wilkerson had what all successful Methodist 
preachers of his day had to have, courage. On one 
occasion he started with a company from Holston to 
Kentucky ; but his horse failing, he was left behind. 
When his horse was able to travel, he started by him- 
self, while his friends endeavored in vain to dissuade 
him from the perilous journey. He had a hundred 
miles of unbroken wilderness to traverse, and that at 
a time when hostile Indians were very active. In the 
midst of the wilderness he met one of General Wayne's 
soldiers who was almost in a starving condition, and 
he divided his dried beef with him. On this lonely 
trip he passed through a narrow defile where the In- 
dians had recently murdered a number of travelers ; 
but God had use for him, and he was mercifully pre- 

Mr. Wilkerson by his marriage came into pos- 
session of a good deal of property, including a con- 
siderable number of slaves. But his simplicity never 
forsook him. He was always neatly dressed in home- 
spun. Small minds have no way of judging of a man 
but by his dress, place of his residence, or some other 
circumstance. He was once a delegate to a General 
Conference which sat in Baltimore. The Committee 
of Entertainment, judging him by his plain apparel, 
and supposing him to be a rude backwoodsman, as- 
signed him to a poor family that lived outside of the 
corporation, where he had to rock the cradle while 
his landlady prepared his meals. But the Committee 
on Public Worship, having consulted the bishop as to 
who should be appointed to preach at a certain central 
point at an important hour, were advised to ap- 
point "Brother Wilkerson." They notified Wilker- 


son of the appointment; but he refused to preach on 
the ground that, being outside of the corporation, he 
was not under their jurisdiction! They came to him 
again and said that the bishop wished him to preach. 
He replied : "If the bishop says so, I will preach, for 
he is general superintendent; I am under his jurisdic- 
tion." He did preach ; the audience was large ; the 
sermon was powerful ; and penitents, being called, 
crowded to the altar, and there was a time of refresh- 
ing from the presence of the Lord. 

A few weeks before his death, while on his death- 
bed, Mr. Wilkerson said : "This old, worn-out frame 
I shall willingly consign to the grave ; the grave can- 
not hurt it; storms may rage, the earth may continue 
to revolve, the lightnings may flash, and the thunders 
roar ; war with iron heel may tramp on my grave ; but 
my body will be at rest. God will take care of it till 
the resurrection. My soul is his. He gave it; to 
him, blessed be his name! it will return." His last 
connected words were: "If I had my life to live over 
again, I would preach differently. I would preach 
more about eternity. I would strive to keep eternity 
always before the people. What is time but a vapor? 
Eternity is all." 1 Mr. Wilkerson died at his residence, 
three miles east of Abingdon, Va., February 3, 1856, 
in the eighty-fourth year of his age. He was buried 
in the rear of the old Methodist Church in Abingdon, 
near the graves of four other Holston preachers. 

Father Wilkerson was a good financier. He was 
economical and exact in his business transactions. 
During his life he accumulated a good deal of prop- 

"'General Minutes M. E. Church, South," Vol. I., p. 674. 


erty, mostly by marriage. He was a slaveholder, but 
was kind and benevolent in his dealings with his 
slaves. By his will he liberated some twenty-three 
or twenty-four slaves, and directed his executors to 
remove them to whatever country they might think 
best. He was an honest and conscientious slavehold- 
er, and his ownership of slaves did not interfere with 
his piety ; but he was amongst those who believed that 
after the negroes had been civilized and Christianized 
by contact with the superior race freedom would fur- 
nish them with better opportunities for development 
and progress. While he did not believe that slave- 
holding was essentially wrong under all circumstances, 
yet he embraced the sentiment of St. Paul in the fol- 
lowing sentence: "Art thou called being a servant 
[slave] ? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made 
free, use it rather." 

From 1807 to 1810. — Sketches of Preachers. 

The General Conference assembled in the city of 
Baltimore May 1, 1808. At this Conference William 
McKendree was promoted to the office of bishop. 
The Western Conference was held at Liberty Hill, 
Middle Tennessee, beginning October 1, 1808. Bish- 
op Asbury was present, having passed through Ken- 
tucky to reach the place. After Conference he vis- 
ited East Tennessee, and preached at several places. 
Some of the Holston preachers attended, but they 
bore the marks of toil and hardship. Their clothes 
were of the plainest homespun; their shoes (for boots 
they had none) were of strong, coarse, home-tanned 
leather, and there was not a decent overcoat among 
them. Their pay had been next to nothing. 1 

The Holston District reported : 

Whites. Colored. 

Holston 653 80 

Nollichucky 491 22 

French Broad 694 16 

Clinch 655 44 

Powell's Valley 239 1 1 

Carter's Valley 211 9 

Cumberland 74 

Total 3,017 182 

Grand total, 3,199; a decrease of 108. 


Bangs's "History of the M. E. Church," Vol. IV, pp. 200- 

8 (113) 


The following were received on trial: William 
Young, John Bowman, Horatio Barnes, William Wi- 
nans, Lewis Anderson, John Lewis, Isaac McKowen, 
David Hardesty, Richard Richards, William B. Elgin, 
John Johnson, Isaac Lindsey, John Sinclair, Wood 
Lloyd, Moses Crume, Eli Truett, John Watson. 

The Holston appointments for the coming year 
were : 

Learner Blackman, presiding elder. 

Holston, William Pattison, Moses Ashworth. 

Watauga, Thomas Milligan. 

Nollichucky, Thomas Trower, Horatio Barnes. 

French Broad, Nathan Barnes, Isaac Lindsey. 

Clinch, Isaac Qtiinn, Lewis Anderson. 

Powell's Valley, James Axley. 

Carter's Valley, Moses Black. 

Tennessee Valley, Milton Ladd. 

Two new circuits are named in this list — Watauga 
and Tennessee Valley. Watauga Circuit was an ex- 
tension of the work along the Watauga River and 
its tributaries in the direction of North Carolina, 
and its chief field was Carter Countv, Tenn. Ten- 
nessee Valley Circuit was a reinstatement of West 
Point Circuit, so named in the Minutes of 1806, but 
called Cumberland in the statistical reports of 1807 
and 1808. From 1808 and forward it is named Ten- 
nessee Valley Circuit in the list of appointments. It 
embraced the settlements in the vicinity of what is 
now Kingston, and along the Tennessee River Valley 
toward what is now Chattanooga, but how low down 
is not known. 

On his way to the seat of the Conference (1808) 
Bishop Asbury passed through Nashville, and remarks 
in his journal that the town had greatly improved in 

FROM 1807 TO l8lO. 115 

eight years — that several valuable residences, an ele- 
gant courthouse, and a college had been built. The 
Bishop put in at Green Hill's, Williamson County. 
The reader will probably remember that in a former 
chapter it was stated that the first Conference in North 
Carolina was held at the residence of the Rev. Green 
Hill, in the eastern part of the State, in 1795. He 
was a pious, influential, and wealthy local preacher. 
He subsequently removed to Middle Tennessee, and 
has an occasional mention in Asbury's journal for 
that section. By his money, his preaching, and his 
pious example he was one of the chief founders of 
Methodism in Middle Tennessee. The Bishop now 
has the happiness of meeting and greeting his old 
friend again. 

The Conference, as we have seen, began October 
1. It was a camp meeting where the preachers ate 
and slept in tents. Eighty-three preachers were sta- 
tioned. On Friday the Lord's Supper was admin- 
istered, and souls were converted, strengthened, and 
sanctified. The Conference made a regulation con- 
cerning slavery. It was that no member of Society, or 
preacher, should sell or buy a slave unjustly, inhu- 
manly, or covetously ; the case, on complaint, to be 
examined for a member by the quarterly meet- 
ing, and for a preacher an appeal was allowed to 
the Annual Conference. Where the guilt was estab- 
lished, the offender was to be expelled. The bishops 
passed the wilderness on their way to East Tennessee 
in company with about fifty persons. They lodged 
at Hailey's. The bishops breakfasted at Southwest 
Point, now Kingston, and hastened to Winton's. Bish- 
op Asbury preached on the Sabbath at Winton's Chap- 


el, to a crowd within and without. There was a revival 
going on at that place. On their way to Maryville, 
they stopped with a local preacher, Mark Moore, a 
short sketch of whom was given in Volume I., Chapter 
IV. They evangelized south of the French Broad 
on Big and Little Pigeon, in rain and mud, being un- 
der the necessity of fording and swimming the swollen 
streams. At a camp meeting at O' Haver's, in Cocke 
County, Asbury, McKendree, Boehm, Blackman, and 
Bowman spoke. The party spent a night with George 
Wells, and next day rode to Warm Springs, which 
was at that time in Buncombe County, N. C. At 
Buncombe C. H. Asbury fell, in with Jesse Rich- 
ardson, who was very much opposed to carrying 
on the spiritual war in that mountainous section by 
militia — men who fire and fall back. On Sunday 
Bishop Asbury preached in the courthouse and lodged 
with a chief man, Erwin. Henry Boehm went to 
Pigeon Creek, in what is now Haywood County, to 
preach to the Dutch. The Bishop went to David 
Jay's, where he supposed he was a stranger; but the 
woman of the house, the mother of seven children, 
recognized him as the man who had joined her to her 
husband in holy wedlock. Here he met Daniel As- 
bury and got encouraging reports from Georgia and 
from North and South Carolina. A number of camp 
meetings had been held, with thirty, forty, and fifty 
souls converted at a meeting. The news from Vir- 
ginia was still better. 1 

In his account of the Conference the Bishop says: 
"We made a regulation respecting slavery." It will 

"Asbury's "Journal," Vol. III., pp. 251-253. 

FROM 1807 TO l8lO. H7 

be observed that at the Conferences of 1808 and 1809 
the Holston District reported a decrease in member- 
ship. This falling off could not be attributed to 
emigration. It is known that the Methodist connec- 
tion had enacted very vigorous measures for the sup- 
pression of domestic slavery. Most of the early 
preachers were antislavery, and some of them en- 
forced the rule against buying and selling men, -wom- 
en, and children with great rigor ; and the people were 
annoyed with sermons leveled against the institution, 
with trials, suspensions, and expulsions. The preach- 
ers did not realize that they were confronted with a 
condition rather than a theory, and the harsh meas- 
ures which they employed drove some from the Church 
and deterred others from joining it. A statement in 
Asbury's journal to the effect that the Western Con- 
ference "made a regulation respecting slavery" sounds 
somewhat strange to us of the present day. We are 
accustomed to look to the General Conference for 
legislation, and the fact that Annual Conferences leg- 
islated in the days of Asbury shows only the chaotic 
state of Methodist Church government at that date. 

The regulations made at this Conference, however, 
seem to have been a relaxation of the rigor of the 
rule against slavery. In its enforcement the preach- 
ers had met with practical difficulties which they could 
not overcome, and they had found that there was 
principle in policy as well as policy in principle. They 
now found it best not to treat slaveholding as a sin 
per se; but to hold as an actionable offense only the 
buying or selling of a slave "unjustly, inhumanly, or 
covetously," a convicted member to have the right 
of appeal to the Quarterly Conference, and a preacher 


the right of appeal to the Annual Conference. This 
regulation made the rule somewhat elastic, and adr 
justed discipline on the subject of slavery to a sliding 
scale. The fact is, when a preacher in the slavehold- 
ing South got to be better than Jesus Christ and his 
apostles, he soon found his welcome exhausted and his 
usefulness at an end. Hence the Conference at Lib- 
erty Hill underwent a softening and a broadening. 
The reports of the numbers in Society from Holston 
from this time forward show the good results of the 
more liberal interpretation of the rule and a milder 
application of it. From 1810 forward the increase 
of membership in Holston was very encouraging. The 
vital energy of the ministry, which had hitherto spread 
over too much surface, now focalized in purely evan- 
gelical work, and such concentration, intensified by the 
Holy Ghost, wrought very gratifying results. 

The Western Conference met in Cincinnati Satur- 
day, September 30, 1809. Bishops Asbury and Mc- 
Kendree were both present. The Conference at that 
time embraced a large portion of the Mississippi Val- 
ley. The circuits lay in Southwestern Virginia, East 
Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and 
Louisiana. Isaac Lindsey was, in 1808, appointed to 
the French Broad Circuit, in East Tennessee, and in 
1809 ne was appointed to Cold Water Circuit, which 
was west of the Mississippi and north of St. Louis. 
This was itinerancy with a vengeance ! The Western 
Conference was at that time a Conference of mag- 
nificent distances, and that too when the itinerant did 
not enjoy the advantages of railway transportation, 
and when his long rides were, for the most part, neces- 
sarily accomplished on horseback. 

FROM 1807 TO l8lO. H9 

But few of the Holston preachers attended the Cin- 
cinnati Conference, owing to the distance and the ex- 
pensiveness of the trip, which most of them had not 
the means to defray. After Conference Bishop Asbury 
passed through Holston to South Carolina. The re- 
ports of numbers in Society from the Holston District 

Whites. Colored. 

Holston 364 20 

Watauga 170 31 

Nollichucky 449 18 

French Broad 442 31 

Clinch 642 42 

Powell's Valley 239 26 

Carter's Valley 206 19 

Tennessee Valley 375 6 

Total 2,887 193 

Grand total, 3,080; a decrease of 119. 

At this Conference the following were admitted on 
trial: James Finley, Henry McDaniel, Thomas Nel- 
son, John Manley, Samuel West, Francis Travis, Alex- 
ander Cummins, John Brown, Samuel Heliums, 
Charles Holliday, Samuel H. Thompson. 

The appointments for the Holston District for the 
coming year were : 

Frederic Stier, presiding elder. 
Holston, James Axley, John Brown. 
Saltville, James King. 
Nollichucky, William Pattison. 
French Broad, Thomas Trower. 
Clinch, William B. Elgin. 
Powell's Valley, Lewis Anderson. 
Carter's Valley, John Bowman. 
Tennessee Valley, William Young. 


Here Watauga falls out of the list, and Saltville is 
added to it. Watauga was evidently absorbed by 
Holston or Nollichucky or both. Saltville was prob- 
ably carved from Holston. Saltville was a village 
that had been built up by the manufacture of salt 
at King's and Preston's Salt Works, in Washington 
and Smyth Counties, Va., the village being on or 
near the line between the two counties. The manu- 
facture of salt at that place has been kept up ever 
since, and during the War between the States it was 
the main dependence of the people of the Confederate 
States for salt. The immense plaster beds at the 
same place have furnished a valuable fertilizer to the 
farmers of the South. At present the manufacture of 
soda ash and other by-products, added to that of salt, 
is carried on there on a large scale; and these indus- 
tries have built up at that place a considerable town. 

On Sunday of the Conference at Cincinnati Learn- 
er Blackman preached at nine o'clock, Bishop Mc- 
Kendree at twelve, and Mr. Burke at three. There 
were about three thousand souls on the ground, for it 
was a camp meeting. Bishop Asbury preached on 
the morning of the 8th, the second Sabbath of the 
Conference. The Conference closed its labors that 
day, and the preachers dispersed on Monday. The 
Bishop, accompanied by his traveling companion, 
Henry Boehm, passed through the Holston country 
after Conference. Boehm was a German, and from 
the frequent mention made of him in early Methodist 
history I judge that he was a man of learning and of 
fine abilities as a preacher. He was born in 1775 
and died in 1875, his life and labors having extended 
through a century. He was a Methodist preacher for 































seventy-four years, and was a traveling companion of 
Bishop Asbury covering forty thousand miles of trav- 
el. In his entire itinerancy he traveled more than a 
hundred thousand miles on horseback. 

The Bishop and Mr. Boehm crossed Powell's and 
Clinch Rivers. They crossed the Holston at Mar- 
shall's Ford, more recently Marshall's Ferry. It ap- 
pears that the party held services at a neat pine chapel 
built by Mr. Read, a few miles south of Marshall's 
Ford. This church was located at the Morelock 
.place, about two miles east of Morristown, and was 
subsequently supplanted by Liberty Hill Church, which 
is about a mile northwest of the site of Read's Chapel. 
Read's Meetinghouse was built by Phelps Read, 
grandfather of the late Thomas Read, of Grainger 
County. Mr. Read was also maternal grandfather 
of the late Wyatt Stubblefield, of Morristown. 
This information I have received from Mr. W. H. 
Long, a great-grandson of Edward Cox, of whom 
notice has been given in this work. At this chapel 
Asbury preached and Pattison, Stier, and Boehm fol- 
lowed. Stier was presiding elder of the Holston Dis- 
trict, and Pattison was in charge of Nollichucky Cir- 
cuit. On Monday Asbury preached in Vanpelt's 
Chapel, on Lick Creek. On Tuesday he preached at 
Warrensburg from Romans vi. 1-5. On Wednesday 
he preached at O'Haver's Chapel. He afterwards 
preached at Harrison's Chapel on Galatians v. 7-10: 
In Buncombe (now Madison) County, N. C, Mr. As- 
bury found Mr. Barnard sick; the case was a des- 
perate one, and he "gave him a grain of tartar and a 
few composing drops, which procured him a sound 
sleep." The patient was very thankful, and charged 

FROM 1807 TO l8lO. I23 

the preachers nothing for their entertainment. Sat- 
urday, the 28th, finds the preachers at Killian's. As- 
bury reflects: "Eight times within nine years I have 
crossed these Alps." At Buncombe C. H. the 
Bishop preached on Luke xiv. 10, dined with Mr. 
Erwin, and lodged with Mr. James Patton. He says, 
speaking of these families: "How rich, how plain, how 
humble, how kind!" Thence the Bishop made his 
way into South Carolina. 1 

The Mr. Barnard spoken of by the Bishop was, I 
think, father of the late Hezekiah Barnard, who for 
years farmed on the French Broad, and kept a house 
of entertainment a few miles south of Hot Springs. 
It was a noted stopping place for preachers, who al- 
ways had the freedom of his home. "Aunt Hettie" 
Barnard, wife of Hezekiah Barnard, was a lifelong 
Methodist, and she was distinguished for her kind- 
ness to preachers; her donations to the Church were 
very large in proportion to her means; and preachers, 
irrespective of their denominational relations, seldom 
left her house without a present of money or some 
valuable article of apparel. What she did she did 
very quietly, not allowing her left hand to know what 
her right hand did. Eternity alone will reveal the 
number and extent of her private benefactions to 
ministers and the poor. Her blessing has descended 
to her posterity, who are among the best citizens of 
that country. 

The James Patton of whom the Bishop speaks in 
his journal was father of the late James W. Patton 

Asbury's "Journal," Vol. III., pp. 276, 278. 


and John E. Patton, of Asheville, N. C. They were 
not Methodists. They are still remembered as wealthy 
and enterprising citizens of Buncombe County, and 
some of their posterity are still among the best cit- 
izens of Western North Carolina. 

The year 1809-10 seems to have been a prosperous 
year in Holston ; not only was the downward tendency 
in numbers in Society arrested, but a very encouraging 
increase was reported at the Conference of 1810. 
There was a general awakening throughout the district 
about this time. This awakening showed itself in the 
building of meetinghouses and the establishment of 
camp grounds. I have mentioned one instance of the 
establishment of a camp ground. The venerable Ed- 
ward Johnston, of Giles County, Va., in a letter to Dr. 
Cunnyngham written from Poplar Hill, Va., Feb- 
ruary 4, 1875, says : 

The first camp ground in this country was built about the 
year 1809 or 1810. It was known as Chinquapin Camp 
Ground. The next was built at Mechanicsburg, now in Bland 
County, about the year 1813. In 1819 or 18*20 a cloth tent 
camp meeting was held about two miles west of Poplar Hill. 
In 1822 or 1823 another camp ground was built near the old 
Chinquapin Camp Ground. The last meeting held there was 
held in 1833 by Revs. Daniel B. Carter and Hugh Johnston. 
After the close of this meeting, ground was bought at Wa- 
bash and a camp ground established there, where it has re- 
mained ever since. 

In a future chapter more will be said about this 
camp ground and the meetings held there. 

The Conference of 1810 met in the new chapel, Shel- 
by County, Ky., November 1 of that year. As- 
bury and McKendree were both present. 

FROM 1807 TO l8 IO. 125 

The Holston District reported numbers in Society as 
follows : 

Whites. Colored. 

Nollichucky 430 7 

French Broad 599 30 

Clinch 808 63 

Holston . m . 410 30 

Powell's Valley 370 27 

Saltville 258 35 

Carter's Valley 180 16 

Tennessee Valley 420 30 

Total 3,475 238 

Grand total, 3,713; an increase of 633. 

At this Conference there was a large influx of new 
preachers. The following were admitted on trial : 
John McFarland, John Page, Matthew Nelson, Baker 
Wrather, James Dixon, Jacob Mills, Thomas Wright, 
James G. Leach, Joseph Haines, Stephen Timmons, 
Walter Griffith, Thomas A. King, Samuel Griffin, 
Samuel King, John Phipps, Daniel Fraley, John 
Strange, James McMehan, Michael Ellis, Joseph Pig- 
got, Vivian Daniel, Caleb J. Taylor, Isaac Pavey, 
Marcus Lindsey, George A. Colbert, Nathan Pullam. 

The Holston District was supplied as follows: 

Frederic Stier, presiding elder. 
Holston, Thomas Trower. 
Saltville, Josiah Crawford. 
Nollichucky, Samuel H. Thompson. 
French Broad, William Pattison. 
Clinch, Samuel Heliums. 
Powell's Valley, John Brown. 
Tennessee Valley, Thomas Heliums. 
Carter's Valley, Richard Richards. 

Bishop Asbury in his journal makes a brief mention 


of the Conference and his trip through Holston. The 
Friday before the beginning of the session was ob- 
served as a day of fasting and prayer. Conference 
began in great peace. The Bishop preached in an 
open house to a cold auditory. On Sunday, the 4th, 
Bishop McKendree preached and Bishop Asbury ex- 
horted. On Thursday Asbury preached, speaking at 
considerable length and with great plainness of speech. 
He sold his sulky and purchased a horse, that he 
might the more easily make his way through the wil- 
derness to Georgia. On this journey the Bishops vis- 
ited James McKendree, brother to Bishop McKendree, 
who had lately removed from Virginia to Middle Ten- 
nessee. They also lodged with John McGee, the hero 
of the revival of 1800. From Crab Orchard they 
passed the wilderness and came to Major Hailey's, 
who lived some thirteen miles from Kingston. From 
Kingston, a ride of twenty miles brought them to 
Winton's, where Asbury preached. Sabbath, Decem- 
ber 2, finds the Bishop and his companions at Bun- 
combe C. H. McKendree and McGee rose early 
and went to preach at a place some twenty-five miles 
off, while Asbury and Boehm went to Newton Acad- 
emy, where both preached and Mr. Newton followed 
with an exhortation. They dined with Mr. Newton. 
The Bishop says: "He is almost a Methodist, and 
reminds me of dear Whatcoat — the same placidity 
and solemnity." 

Thomas Milligan was admitted into the itinerant 
ranks in 1798, and located in 1809. He was appointed 
to the following Holston charges: In 1802, to Hol- 
ston Circuit, but was changed to Clinch during the 
year; in 1803, to Holston; in 1804, to Powell's Val- 

FROM 1807 TO l8lO. 127 

ley; in 1805, to Carter's Valley; in 1806, to New 
River; and in 1808, to Watauga. Thus it appears that 
he tarried longer amid the hills of Holston than most 
of the early pioneers. His long continuance in the 
same section indicates that he was an acceptable and 
useful preacher. He was an uneducated man, lacked 
polish ; but being a man of superior native talent, he 
was said to have been an able preacher. Education is a 
matter of great importance ; and, as a rule, the greatest 
achievements in the ministry, as well as in other call- 
ings, have been made by educated men. But there 
are other qualifications of the useful preacher besides 
education. Natural gifts, prudence, common sense, 
piety, and diligence, and, not least of all, such 
breeding, views, and manners as cause the man to 
feel at home among the common masses and the com- 
mon masses to feel in sympathy with him, are condi- 
tions of ministerial usefulness equally important with 
the polish and style imparted by scholastic advan- 
tages. Many an educated, or rather scholarly, man 
is wholly out of sympathy with the common people, 
and can do them very little good. Really there is a 
difference between education and scholarship. If the 
preacher were educated in the right manner for his 
profession, he would be better adapted to it; and not 
the least element of this adaptation is a versatility 
by which he can make himself at home equally among 
the rich and cultured and the poor and illiterate. The 
Methodist system that encourages education in the 
ministry, but at the same time does not absolutely de- 
mand classical scholarship in its preachers, has proved 
to be wise ; for this system not only furnishes a suffi- 
cient number of laborers for the work, but it enables 


the authorities to place over the charges the men spe- 
cially adapted to them, intellectually and socially. In 
other denominations stringent regulations in regard 
to ministerial education have kept down many a man 
who, if authorized to preach, would have forged his 
way to the front by dint of genius and untiring appli- 

Learner Blackman, son of David and Marv Black- 
man, was born in the State of New Jersey in the 
year 1781. His religious training had been good, and 
he had the best education afforded by the country 
where he was reared. Indeed, his educational advan- 
tages were far in advance of those usually enjoyed by 
the men who entered the Methodist ministry at that 
day. He was converted and joined the Methodist 
Church at the age of sixteen. Being impressed that 
he was called to the work of the ministry, he made 
the question a matter of prayer, advised with friends, 
and resolved not to be disobedient to the heavenly 
calling. In the summer of 1800, when he was nine- 
teen years old, he joined the Philadelphia Conference, 
and was appointed to Kent Circuit, in Maryland, as 
assistant to William Bishop, where at first he had pain- 
ful exercises of the mind growing out of a fear that he 
had run before he was called ; but after long strug- 
gles the Lord gave him some liberty in preaching, he 
saw fruit of his labors, and was encouraged. The 
next year he was appointed assistant to the same man 
on Dover Circuit, in Delaware, where he and his col- 
league had great success, receiving five hundred peo- 
ple into the Church. This was in the summer, but 
late in the same year (1801) he was transferred to 
the West, and appointed to Russell Circuit, in Holston, 

FROM 1807 TO l8lO. 129 

as colleague to James Hunter. In the fall of 1802 
he was appointed to New River Circuit, but was trans- 
ferred by his presiding elder to Holston Circuit in 
December, and in 1803 he was appointed to Lexington 
Circuit, in Kentucky. In 1804 he was appointed to 
the Natchez Mission to take the place of that man of 
God, Tobias Gibson, who had recently died. In 1805 
he was appointed to the Mississippi District, and was 
continued on that work till the fall of 1807, when he 
was placed in charge of the Holston District, on which 
he remained two years. He was appointed presiding 
elder of the Cumberland District in 1809, and again 
in 1810. In 181 1 he was appointed in charge of the 
Nashville District, and was continued on it three years. 
His last charge, to which he was appointed in 1814, 
was the Cumberland District. I have been the more 
particular to give the dates of his different appoint- 
ments because in some of the published sketches of Mr. 
Blackman the dates have been much confused. 

It is not worth while to give a detailed account of 
Mr. Blackmail's labors in his various fields. Suffice 
it to say that he was constantly about his Master's 
business, and that he laid an unusual wealth of intel- 
lect and learning upon the altars of the Church. On 
Natchez Mission and the Mississippi District he did a 
glorious work; was more energetic and successful, if 
possible, than any of his predecessors, which is say- 
ing a great deal. He was not less energetic and use- 
ful in the Holston country and in Middle Tennessee. 

Blackman's social opportunities had been good, he 

had a superior mind, solid rather than showy, was 

well-built physically, had a great thirst for knowledge 

and a mind that could receive and retain it, was pro- 



foundly convinced of the truth of the Christian reli- 
gion, had been radically converted, felt the power of 
the gospel in his own heart, bent every energy and 
availed himself of every opportunity to save men 
from hell and lead them to Christ and heaven. He 
had a short ministerial career of only fifteen years ; 
but in that brief space of time he placed himself 
alongside of the leading men of the Church in puri- 
ty of life, intellectual attainments, ability in the pul- 
pit, and success in saving souls and building up the 
Church. He purchased to himself "a good degree 
and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Je- 
sus," and obtained a name which will be remembered 
with affection and tenderness for hundreds of years 
to come. 

At the Philadelphia Conference in the summer of 
1801 there were loud calls for volunteers for the wild 
West. Owing to the perils of the work in that section, 
Bishop Asbury would not exercise his prerogative in 
sending men there unless they consented in advance. 
Blackman and Louther Taylor volunteered, and made 
the journey to the Holston country together. In Bal- 
timore they met Wilson Lee, who had been several 
years in the West and knew how to sympathize with 
the young preachers who were en route to that sec- 
tion. He took out his purse and gave them ten dol- 
lars apiece. I gladly mention this little incident to 
show the brotherly and self-sacrificing spirit of the 
Methodist preachers of that day. 

While Mr. Blackman was on the Holston Circuit, he 
fell in with Granade at a quarterly meeting in Rich 
Valley above King's Salt Works. He says in his jour- 
nal that Granade was among the most extraordinary 

FROM 1807 TO 1 8 IO. 131 

men he ever met in his travels, that he was strong in 
faith, that no man appeared to possess more zeal than 
he, that thousands flocked to hear him and about one 
thousand joined Society under him while he rode 
the Holston and Greene Circuits. He says also that 
Granade had a fine address, a good voice for singing 
and preaching, and that he was a considerable poet; 
that many songs composed by him were to be found 
in the different collections of hymns published upon 
the continent, and that they were read and sung with 
avidity. He further says that Granade frequently 
preached two or three hours or more; that, though 
a corpulent, heavy-set man, he quite exhausted his 
strength in these long sermons and generally ended 
them on his knees. 

Like most men who are brought up in the low coun- 
tries and in the older sections, Mr. Blackman had got- 
ten the idea that Western people were rude and igno- 
rant; but on coming West he was forced to revise his 
opinion. He found that enterprising men from every 
part of the continent and from Europe were here ; that 
many underwent an enlargement of their views by 
coming West; that a general spirit of inquiry and of 
thirst for knowledge was more apparent among all 
grades of society in Kentucky than in any other State 
through which he had traveled, and that a preacher 
needed all the wisdom of the serpent as well as the 
harmlessness of the dove to be useful in that State. 

These remarks of Mr. Blackman would have ap- 
plied in a measure to the people of the Holston country 
about as well as to Kentucky. 

Mr. Blackman and Nathan Barnes volunteered for 
the Natchez Mission in 1804. To reach it, they had to 


pass through a howling wilderness infested with sav- 
ages and wild beasts. It was a journey of about nine 
hundred miles. The young evangelists hurried their 
preparations for the journey in order to have the 
company of Lorenzo Dow and a Rev. Mr. Miller, of 
New York. At Harrodsburg, Ky., some of the 
preachers were robbed, while they slept, of all their 
money ; Dow lost thirteen dollars, and Barnes six. 
Two men who slept in another room were also robbed. 
Mr. Blackman was more fortunate. The company 
now had their faces set sonthwestward, with an im- 
mense wilderness before them, with a capital in the 
whole company of only six dollars ! Here was faith, 
and the faith that overcometh the world. The jour- 
ney through the wilderness had many thrilling inci- 
dents. Blackman found that Lorenzo Dow was an 
agreeable traveling companion, and he records the 
fact that his preaching was at times in great power. 
The travelers stopped at a meeting at Liberty Hill, 
on the Nashville Circuit, in Tennessee, and there for 
the first time Mr. Blackman witnessed the dancing and 
jerking exercises. He says that he noticed that those 
thus exercised would begin to jerk as though their 
limbs would be dislocated, and that the jerking would 
increase until the dancing began, when the jerking 
would almost cease. 

In the war of 18 12 Andrew Jackson organized a 
division, and in November of that year was ordered 
to descend the Mississippi. He offered Mr. Black- 
man the chaplaincy of the division, and the offer was 
accepted. A number of boats conveyed the troops 
down the river from Fort Pickering, now Memphis, 
and Mr. Blackman was unremitting in his labors 

FROM 1807 TO l8lO. 133 

among the soldiers, going from boat to boat for 
preaching and prayer. The officers were wicked, and 
the soldiers very little better ; but they were compelled 
to reverence this intensely earnest man of God, and 
to listen to him with respect. Old Hickory, however, 
found that he had in the Chaplain a man of iron will 
like himself. When the General questioned the Chap- 
lain as to his method of speaking to the men when 
very sick, and suggested that when he found a man 
likely to die he should not tell him that he was 
going to die, even if he believed it, Mr. Blackman po- 
litely but firmly replied that on that point he would 
be independent and do as he thought best. The 
troops remained in the Mississippi country only one 
month, and Mr. Blackman returned through the In- 
dian country on horseback. 1 

Mr. Blackman was in person unusually attractive. 
He was of medium height and size. He was neither 
lean nor corpulent, had a full face and an uncommonly 
expressive eye. In speaking his face gave ready ex- 
pression to his thoughts and feelings; every feature 
seemed instinct with life. He always spoke out of a 
full heart. His manners were easy and graceful, 
showing that he was accustomed to the society of the 
refined and intelligent. He was an accomplished 
gentleman. He was not eccentric. In his private 
intercourse with people his genial spirit, winning man- 
ners, and fine common sense made him a pleasant and 
instructive companion. He had great influence in the 
Conference. He was not garrulous; but when duty 

Article of Bishop Galloway in Methodist Reviezv for No- 
vember-December, 1899, pp. 863-876. 


demanded it, he spoke with freedom and pertinence, 
and always had a respectful hearing. In the pulpit 
he was not boisterous, but his utterance was easy and 
fluent. 1 

One cause of the success and prominence of Mr. 
Blackman was his diligence in study. While on the 
Lexington Circuit, in Kentucky, controversy was ra- 
ging, and he found it necessary to post himself care- 
fully upon the points at issue between the Methodists 
and other denominations. He often arose at three 
o'clock a.m., and by the dim light of a tallow candle 
labored to master the arguments of the fathers in de- 
fense of the doctrines of Methodism. Fletcher's 
"Checks" was his vade mccum, and in a few months 
he had read forty or fifty duodecimo and octavo vol- 
umes on the sciences and on divinity, while doing the 
full work of a traveling preacher. In speaking of 
those studious days he says: "A man can no more 
preach without ideas than he can walk without feet." 2 

Mr. Blackmail's wife was originally Miss Elizabeth 
Odom. She was at the time of her marriage to Mr. 
Blackman a widow — Mrs. Elliott, of Sumner Coun- 
ty, Tenn. She was a polite, cultured woman, indeed 
a most estimable lady, and admirably adapted to the 
place of a minister's wife. They were married June 
22, 1 813. And now comes a tale of sorrow — not alto- 
gether of sorrow, for our hero dashes suddenly and un- 
expectedly into the dark tunnel of death, only to emerge 
at the other end into lovelier scenes and brighter skies. 

'The Rev. Laban Clark, D.D., as quoted in "Methodism in 
Tennessee," Vol. II., pp. 103, 104. 

"Bishop Galloway, in November-December number of Meth- 
odist Review of 1899, p. 867. 

FROM 1807 TO l8 IO. 135 

The happy couple had just been on a visit in Ohio to 
the Rev. John Collins, brother-in-law of Mr. Black- 
man, and were returning. They were traveling on 
horseback. They dismounted and entered a ferry- 
boat at Cincinnati ; but the ferryman raising a sail, the 
horses became frightened, and in his effort to hold 
them Mr. Blackmail was dragged into the river, and, 
though a good swimmer, he was drowned. His wife, 
wild with grief, was scarcely restrained from joining 
him in his watery grave. This occurred June 6, 1815. 
His remains were interred in the rear of the "Old 
Stone Church," afterwards Wesley Chapel, in Cin- 
cinnati. 1 

Years after the death of Mr. Blackman Mrs. Black- 
man was married to Joseph T. Elliston, Esq., of Nash- 
ville, where she long lived, honored by a large circle 
of relatives and friends. Her elegant home was a 
place of rest and refreshment for the weary preachers. 
In her house a room was set apart for Bishop Mc- 
Kendree, called the "Bishop's Room." 2 

Caleb McCloud was admitted into the itinerancy in 
1804, placed on the supernumerary roll in 18 10, and 
located in 181 1. He traveled in Ohio, Mississippi, 
Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. He was ap- 
pointed to Holston Circuit in 1807. He traveled in 
five States in seven years, such was the itinerancy of 
that day ! While traveling McCloud was useful ; after 
location he was, as a preacher, zealous and enterpri- 
sing. In 1 81 2 he became dissatisfied with the Church, 
withdrew from its communion, and built a neat brick 

"Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. I., pp. 445-447. 
"Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., p. 105. 


church on Main Street, Lexington, Ky., in which he 
preached occasionally. He remained out of the Meth- 
odist Church for twenty years, but during that time 
he maintained his Christian integrity. The member- 
ship of his independent Church became smaller from 
year to year till it dwindled to nothing. He returned 
to the Church o>f his first love about two years before 
his death, and died in peace. After his location he 
engaged in the practice of medicine, and continued 
in that profession to the close of his life. 1 

Miles Harper, was admitted in 1804. He labored 
only one year in Holston, having been appointed to 
Clinch Circuit in 1807. During the year 1805 the 
religious excitement was very great in Middle Ten- 
nessee. Among the active laborers in this extraor- 
dinary work was Miles Harper, who stood shoulder 
to shoulder with James Axley. Mr. Harper was a 
zealous and able preacher, very popular, commanding 
large audiences and exerting great influence for good 
over the multitudes who attended upon his ministry. 
He served on circuits and districts, and was especial- 
ly useful about Nashville and in the Cumberland sec- 
tion generally. In 1808 he was placed in charge of the 
Cumberland District ; in 1809 he was sent to Natchez ; 
in 1810 he was appointed presiding elder of the Missis- 
sippi District; in 181 1 he was appointed to New Or- 
leans ; in 181 2 he took charge of the Louisiana District 
and Wachita Station. Without following him in all his 
appointments, we find him back in Tennessee in 1817, 
preaching with power. Again he returns to Mississippi, 
and resumes his labors among a delighted people. 

"Redford's "Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. II., pp. 55, 56. 















Mr. Harper was accustomed in his preaching to de- 
nounce the vices of the age with severity, and to re- 
buke plainly, if not harshly, the faults and inconsist- 
encies of the membership of the Church. He thus not 
only incurred the hostility of many men of the world, 
but made enemies among the members of the Church. 
He was also a rigid disciplinarian — a fact that did not 
make him friends among inconsistent and immoral 
members of the Church and their friends and relatives. 
Some unguarded remarks of Harper, which got into 
the gossip of the country and passed through several 
editions with considerable coloring and exaggeration, 
furnished the basis for charges of falsehood against 
him at the Mississippi Conference held in December, 
1829. Willing and prejudiced witnesses, possibly un- 
scrupulous, were not wanting to criminate him, and 
he was expelled from the Church by the Conference. 
In his day accused preachers were not tried by com- 
mittee, but were arraigned before the whole Confer- 
ence. There was much informality in the bills of 
charges, if any bills were made out at all, and in the 
introduction of evidence. The Methodist judicial re- 
gime had not crystallized into a regular system, prej- 
udice and excitement were likely to go far in deter- 
mining a case, and it is more than likely that, in his 
case, indiscretions were magnified into crimes. He re- 
mained out of the Church for four years, but con- 
ducted himself as a man of God. He always main- 
tained his innocence, and maintained it to the last. 
In 1834 he was invited by the pastor and leading mem- 
bers of the Church in Natchez to return to the Church 
"without contrition and confession," and he accepted 
the invitation. He was soon reKcensed to preach, and 

F&OM 1807 TO l8lO. I39 

his parchments were restored. A few years before 
his death he removed to Tensas Parish, Louisiana, 
where he finished his course in peace. After his resto- 
ration to the ministry he was honored with important 
hours at camp meetings and other popular meetings, 
and the people were delighted to find that he had lost 
none of the fire and eloquence of his palmy days. 

Harper was not a philosopher, metaphysician, or 
logician. He was not literary in any high sense; but 
he was a fluent speaker, an eloquent declaimer, and 
he knew the near way to the hearts of his hearers. 
Mrs. Harper belonged to one of the most pious, intelli- 
gent, and influential families in the Southwest. A 
portion of Mr. Harper's interesting family became 
estranged from the Church by the treatment their 
father had received ; but others became useful mem- 
bers of it. 1 

Isaac Lindsey joined the Western Conference in 
1808, and located in 1816. He labored his first year 
on French Broad Circuit. He traveled his other years 
in the West and Northwest. Mr. Lindsey possessed 
fair talents as a preacher, but after spending the 
flower of his early manhood in the itinerant work 
he retired and engaged in secular pursuits. He was 
successful in business ; but his love of money, possibly 
not excessive or sinful, was to him the snare of the 
fowler. A young man by the name of Carroll, who 
seemed to be a friend and admirer of his, came to 
him one day and claimed to have discovered a very 
rich silver mine, and expressed a wish that he should 

"History of the Introduction of Protestantism into Mis- 
sissippi and the Southwest," by Rev. John G. Jones, pp. 127- 


become his partner in the property. Mr. Lindsey, 
credulous and confiding, was persuaded to accompany 
him by a private route to Nashville to have the ore 
tested. Carroll claimed that the private route would 
take them by where he had some of the ore concealed. 
When they reached the Cumberland River, Carroll, 
who had a gun with him, shot and killed Mr. Lindsey, 
and robbed him of his money, which amounted to only 
one hundred dollars. A few days after the murder 
the body was found in the river ; but the criminal had 
fled, and no one knew where he was to be found. In 
Mr. Lindsey's neighborhood a young man by the name 
of W. R. Saunders, resolving in his mind to find the 
criminal and bring him to justice, left home and kept 
up the search till he found him in the Indian Nation. 
He had him arrested and brought back to Tennessee in 
irons, where he was tried and convicted of murder 
and hanged. A reward had been offered for the ar- 
rest of the murderer; but Mr. Saunders, having re- 
ceived it, refused to retain more than his expenses, 
and paid the remainder to a young man who had 
given him the clue by which his search became suc- 
cessful. We know not which is the more a matter 
of astonishment, the folly and villainy of the mur- 
derer or the unselfish devotion to justice of his noble 
detective. I cannot fall in with those who would 
look upon the sad death of Mr. Lindsey as a judg- 
ment sent on him for leaving the pastoral work or 
for his love of money. Money is a good thing in its 
place, and men have a right to seek it by honorable 
means. Methodists have no right to claim that leav- 
ing the pastoral work and dropping back into the local 
ranks is a sin, as the local ministry is held by the 

FROM 1807 TO l8lO. 141 

Church to be a useful and honorable relation. The 
tendency to look upon every misfortune as a punish- 
ment for sin is condemned by the book of Job, and 
finds a disapproval in the words of Jesus, when he 
speaks of the Galileans whose blood Pilate mingled 
with their sacrifices. 1 

James King was admitted into the Western Confer- 
ence in 1806, and located in 18 10. He traveled in the 
Northwest till 1809, when he was assigned to Saltville 
Circuit, in Virginia. At the end of his year on this 
charge he located. 

William Young was admitted into the Western Con- 
ference in 1808; and died July 20, 1812. His active 
itinerancy seems to have embraced only three years. 
He was appointed to Mad River in 1808, in 1809 to 
Tennessee Valley, in Holston, and in 18 10 to Cincin- 

William Young was born in Washington County, 
Va., May 16, 1786. Through the instrumentality of 
the Methodists he was powerfully convicted and con- 
verted in 1805; in 1807 he began to exhort; in the fall 
of 1808 he joined the traveling connection. In 181 1, 
while riding down the Ohio River facing an extremely 
cold wind, he caught a violent cold, which terminated 
in pulmonary consumption; and January 20, 1812, he 
changed worlds. He was naturally of a strong mind 
and retentive memory. Though his manner of preach- 
ing was boisterous, therefore injurious to himself and 
not the most agreeable to his hearers, yet he was so 
humble and otherwise pious that good men loved him, 
and so meek was he in his disposition and courteous 


Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., pp. I53-I57- 


in his manners that nonprofessors sought his presence 
and delighted in his conversations. While able to 
travel he was very useful. On all his charges he had 
revivals. By his prayers and his visits from house to 
house he accomplished more than many preachers with 
more splendid gifts. Three days before his death he 
rode a half mile to a newly laid out camp ground, 
where people were adjusting their tents and getting 
ready for the services. He viewed the tents, surveyed 
the stand, looked around on the people, and burst into 
tears. Turning his horse, he said: "I am done with 
these things now ; I shall be at camp meeting no more." 
So it was, for before the meeting closed he had as- 
cended. 1 

Moses Black was admitted into the traveling con- 
nection in 1796; located in 1806; was readmitted in 
1808; and died February 10, 1809. He traveled in 
South Carolina and Georgia till the fall of 1802, when 
he was appointed to Clinch Circuit. His appoint- 
ments after that were: 1803, Powell's Valley; 1804, 
Clinch; 1805, Nollichucky ; 1808, Carter's Valley. He 
was born near Charleston, S. C, and died in Carter's 
Valley, Hawkins County, Tenn., aged about forty 
years. In his last moments he possessed an unshaken 
confidence in God. Just before his death he was very 
restless on account of a violent attack of what was 
supposed to be colic ; he requested his friends to open 
the windows and doors and to move him so that he 
could see without; he then cried out: "Behold! how 
beautiful everything looks ! I shall soon go now." 
In a few moments he quitted this mournful vale. 2 

'"General Minutes," Vol. I., pp. 222, 223. 
'"General Minutes," Vol. I., p. 179. 

FROM 1807 TO l8lO. I43 

May I not venture a brief comment on one point 
of this dying scene — namely, the transfiguration of 
earthly scenes to the dying man? This experience of 
dying persons is not unusual. Newly converted souls 
have a similar experience, where the change is rad- 
ical, where there is a revolution in the whole psychic 
nature. The modern theory of double consciousness 
might be used in explaining this phenomenon. The 
theory is that men have two minds or two functions 
of one mind. These two minds or functions of one mind 
are named the objective and the subjective minds. The 
former depends on brain cell action ; the latter acts in- 
dependently of the brain and of the physical senses. 
With the former we take cognizance of the material 
universe around us through the five senses; with the 
latter we take direct cognizance of our environment, 
and it has, therefore, been called the sixth sense. When 
the objective mind is in abeyance, the subjective mind 
rises above the horizon of consciousness. In cases of 
intense concentration, such as the mental state of the 
newly converted soul, the objective mind is in abey- 
ance, and the subjective mind comes to the front, takes 
possession of the man, and he sees directly what the 
physical sense of sight could not behold. When a 
man is dying, his objective mind is in abeyance, and 
the subconscious mind takes the place of the conscious 
mind; and the man sees things which the physical 
senses cannot apprehend ; he sees physical objects shin- 
ing with an unnatural brightness, and he sees the spir- 
its that have come to escort him to the spirit land. 
This transfiguration of physical objects cannot be 
attributed to imagination; the burning bush was not 
a hallucination of Moses; the radiance of his counte- 


nance when he came down from the mount was no 
an imagination of the children of Israel; the trans 
figuration of Jesus on the mount was not the worl 
of the heated imaginations of his disciples; in these 
cases there was real light and a state of mind to per- 
ceive it. Mr. Black, as I believe, saw a real bright- 
ness, an objective transfiguration. I cannot believe 
with some, that such a phenomenon is only "the phos- 
phorescence of a decaying brain." No ; the light o: 
the sun is only the faint image of a purer and more 
glorious light that illumines the spiritual world, anc 
that will flood the halls of the New Jerusalem with i 
glory vastly above the splendor of the king of day. 

Anthony Senter was admitted into the South Car- 
olina Conference in 1808. His incumbency of Bun- 
combe Circuit in 1811-12 brings him within the pur- 
view of Holston history. With the exception of this 
year his labors were confined to South Carolina anc 
Georgia. The last two years of his ministry he was 
presiding elder of the Broad River District. 

Anthony Senter was born in Lincoln County, N. C. 
January 28, 1875 '■> an d died at Georgetown, S. C. 
December 23, 181 7. At eighteen he was apprenticed 
in the blacksmith trade. In his business he was in- 
defatigable, sober, and moral. After setting up fot 
himself, he saw his way open to affluence. The pious 
walk of one of his neighbors led him to investigate the 
claims of religion, and he was soon convinced that he 
was destitute of "the one thing needful/' In 1806, at 
a meeting on Enoree Circuit, he was overwhelmingly 
convinced of sin. On his way home he fell or alighted 
from his horse, and was found prostrate on the ground 
in utter agony, pleading for mercy. A short time 

FROM 1807 TO l8lO. T45 

afterwards he found peace in believing, joined the 
Church, became a class leader, and soon thereafter 
entered upon the work of the ministry. He had a 
strong mind, a benevolent heart, a single and a steady 
purpose to glorify God. While able to work he was 
abundant in labors in the cause of God. He was a 
victim of consumption. On his district, when so 
wasted that he could not preach, he held Quarterly 
Conferences and .instructed the members in their du- 
ties. At last unable to do that, he retired to his home 
in Georgetown, where after a few weeks he laid aside 
his emaciated frame to enter a house not made with 
hands, eternal in the heavens. 


From 1810 to 1813. — Sketches of Prominent 
Local Preachers. 

The Western Conference met in Cincinnati, Ohio, 
October 1, 181 1, and lasted ten days. This was its last 
session. When the Conferences were first mapped out 
and named in the Minutes, this Conference headed the 
list. It was first named the Western Conference— that 
is to say, in the Minutes for 1802; in the Minutes for 
1 80 1 it was called Kentucky Conference, but retained 
that name only one year. At the General Conference 
of 181 2 the Western Conference was divided into 
the Ohio and Tennessee Conferences. The Ohio Con- 
ference was made to embrace the Ohio, Muskingum, 
Miami, Kentucky, and Salt River Districts. These 
districts embraced a part of Northwestern Virginia, a 
part of Pennsylvania, all of Ohio, nearly the whole 
of Kentucky, and a considerable part of Indiana. The 
territory of this Conference, however, though exten- 
sive, was less than that assigned to the Tennessee Con- 
ference, which included the Holston, Nashville, Cum- 
berland, Wabash, Illinois, and Mississippi Districts. 
Consequently Southwestern Virginia, the whole of 
Tennessee, the settled portions of Illinois, Missouri, 
Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, with a part of 
Alabama, were included. 

Hereafter I shall confine myself to the statistics of 
the Tennessee Conference so far as I go outside of 
the Holston District for them, 


FROM l8lO TO 1813. I47 

At the Conference of 181 1 the following report of 
numbers in Society from the Holston District was 
made : 

Whites. Colored. 

Nollichucky 456 17 

French Broad 910 49 

Clinch 888 79 

Holston 541 40 

Saltville 295 41 

Powell's Valley 468 37 

Carter's Valley : 180 7 

Tennessee Valley 330 21 

Total 4,068 291 

Grand total, 4,359; a gain of 646, or over 17 per cent. 

The downward tendency had only been arrested in 
1810, and this increase was, therefore, quite encour- 
aging. Indeed, the year just ended had been charac- 
terized by signal displays of divine power in different 
parts of the district. At a camp meeting in Blount 
County there was a most extraordinary season of re- 
vival influence, and scores were gathered into the 
fold of Christ. There was also a powerful work and 
great ingathering in Lee, Tazewell, and Washington 
Counties, Virginia, and in Greene, Washington, Hawk- 
ins, Knox, and other counties in Tennessee. This 
year also a number of half-breed Indians were con- 
verted and taken into the Church — perhaps the first 
case of the kind in the Southwest. 1 This success does 
credit to the laborers in that part of the vineyard. 
But in meting out honors, it is necessary to remem- 
ber that they had entered into the faithful labors of 
their predecessors. Others had sown in tears, and 

^cAnally's "Life of Samuel Patton," p. 140. 


now thev were reaping in joy — they were building on 
a foundation laid by others. The amount of force 
which raises a body is not to be estimated wholly by 
the height to which it raises it; the weight of trie 
body, and therefore the resistance, must enter into 
the calculation. Judged by this canon, thousands of 
the most illustrious men of the world have been fail- 
ures ; they have been nothing but chips on the bosom 
of the flood, which, standing up in their pride, have 
imagined that they raised the flood; and judged by the 
same canon, thousands of men who have gone down in 
defeat, and whom the world has pronounced failures, 
have achieved a most wonderful success. The cour- 
age, endurance, and dogged perseverance of a man in 
defeat and discouragement exhibit more of the moral- 
ly sublime than the triumphal march of the illustrious 
hero, where numbers, superior equipment, and favor- 
ing conditions have insured victory. Poets have sung 
and historians celebrated the deeds of successful men ; 
now we need a book that shall chronicle the deeds 
and celebrate the virtues of the greater men who have, 
in the eye of the superficial observer, gone down in 
defeat. In such a book we might study the saying 
of Him who was wiser than all the philosophers, that 
"the last shall be first, and the first last." 

At this Conference (1811) the following were ad- 
mitted on trial: John Cord, John Caliman, Francis 
Landrum, Jonathan Stamper, Elias Turner, Jesse 
Spurgeon, Robert W. Findley, Charles Bonnell, 
George Ekin, Benjamin Rhoton, Jesse Cunnyngham, 
Richard Conn, Thomas D. Porter, William Dixon, 
William McMehan, Charles Waddle, John McMehan, 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 149 

Samuel Belamy,^ David Goodner, Shadrach B. A. 
Carter, William Hart, Samuel Lewis, Joseph Foulks. 

The ^pointments for the Holston District were: 

Frederic Stier, presiding elder. 

Holston, Lewis Anderson, Jesse Cunnyngham. 

Nellichucky, Samuel Sellers. 

French Broad, George Ekin, Josiah Crawford. 

Clinch, Samuel H. Thompson, Richard Conn. 

Powell's Valley, Thomas A. King. 

Carter's Valley, John Henninger. 

Tennessee Valley, William B. Elgin. 

At the division of the Western Conference the 
whole connection in the United States numbered 195,- 
357 members; Western Conference, 30,741; and Hol- 
ston District, 4,359; and in the connection there were 
only 688 traveling preachers, operating in the entire 
habitable domain from the Lakes to the Gulf. 

Bishops Asbury and McKendree were both present 
at the Cincinnati Conference. Asbury preached in the 
city the Sunday before Conference (September 29), 
and ordained twenty men. On Sunday, October 6, 
both the bishops preached, as did others. The Con- 
ference used two preaching places, the market house 
and the chapel. On Sunday, the 13th, Bishop As- 
bury preached, met the Society, baptized some chil- 
dren, and visited the sick. 

Bishop Asbury went directly through Kentucky 
and Tennessee to Georgia, and seems not to have 
touched Holston this year. He preached in Kentucky 
Sunday, October 20, and in Georgia Sunday, Octo- 
ber 2J. This ubiquitous invalid traveled like a comet, 
with no railroads or navigation to give him wings. 
Surely the zeal of the Lord's house was eating him 


The General Conference of 1808 had provided for 
delegated General Conferences in the future. At that 
Conference the following members were present from 
the Western' Conference — namely, William McKen- 
dree, William Burke, Thomas Milligan, Benjamin 
Lakin, John Sale, Learner Blackman, Nathan Barnes, 
Elisha Bowman, John McClure, James Ward, and 
George Askin. On the committee to draft a plan 
for a delegated General Conference William McKen- 
dree and William Burke were members from the 
Western Conference. 

The first delegated General Conference convened in 
New York City May 1, 1812. The delegates from 
the Western Conference were: Learner Blackman, 
Benjamin Lakin, James Quinn, Frederic Stier, John 
Sale, William Pattison, Isaac Quinn, William Hous- 
ton, John Collins, Samuel Parker, James Axley, Da- 
vid Young, and Thomas Stillwell. 

Such is the Constitution of the Methodist Episcopal 
Churches that their history necessarily embraces main- 
ly only a narration of the acts of the traveling preach- 
ers, while local preachers and eminent laymen must 
remain comparatively unnoticed. But it is my pur- 
pose to introduce into these pages notices of the local- 
ity and the laity as far as possible. In pursuance of 
this design I here introduce a very interesting story 
related to the Rev. B. W. S. Bishop by the Rev. 
Zechariah Mitchell, one of the heroes of the story. 
In 18 12 New River Circuit was included in the Green- 
brier District of the Baltimore Conference, Christo- 
pher Frye being presiding elder and James Paynter 
being preacher in charge. According to the story as 
related by Mr. Mitchell, James Charles was preacher 

FROM l8lO TO 1B13. 15! 

in charge; but this is certainly a mistake. Charles 
was preacher in charge the preceding year, and was 
likely present at the meeting referred to in the story. 
On Saturday, July 4, at a quarterly meeting for New 
River Circuit held at Nicewander's Meetinghouse, in 
Wythe (now Bland) County, Va., Samuel New- 
berry, Joshua Bruce, John G. Cecil, and Zechariah 
Mitchell were licensed to preach. Newberry and 
Bruce always remained in the local ranks. Cecil joined 
the Ohio Conference in 1813, traveled only two years, 
and then returned to his home in Montgomery (now 
Pulaski) County, Va., where he remained a local 
preacher to the end of his days. Mitchell joined the 
Baltimore Conference, traveled five years, and located. 
The four local preachers never lived more than fifty 
miles apart at any time. Early in 1852 Cecil, observ- 
ing that the 4th of July would fall on Sunday, 
wrote to each of the other brethren requesting them 
to meet him at Nicewander's Meetinghouse on Satur- 
day, the 3d, where they would commence an anni- 
versary celebration of the occasion on which they were 
jointly commissioned to preach the gospel. The pro- 
posal was agreed to, and the meeting was published all 
around the Wytheville District. A large crowd as- 
sembled at the new church, nearly a mile from the 
old site, and at the appointed hour the "Big Four" 
were on the ground. The scenes of forty years of 
trial and triumph crowded upon them and awakened 
feelings too deep for utterance. How changed was 
everything! True, the same beautiful heavens bent 
over them, and the same grand mountains stood around 
them, faithful sentinels of God; but mutation had 
placed its stamp on all else. The old log meetinghouse 



FROM l8lO TO 1813. 153 

where the four had been inducted into the ministry was 
gone ; not a beam of its timbers remained, not one stone 
was left upon another. A neat frame building had tak- 
en its place. The forests had been felled, farms had been 
opened, and a pleasant little village was near. Chris- 
topher Frye had long since gone to his reward. The 
four local preachers were probably the only persons 
present who attended the quarterly meeting forty 
years before. But the children and grandchildren of 
their contemporaries were present to hear the gra- 
cious words that should fall from the lips of the vet- 
erans. Around them, too, were their own sons and 
daughters, and their families, to participate joyfully 
in the anniversary exercises. Cecil preached on Sat- 
urday, and the sermon was a powerful one. His text 
was Deuteronomy viii. 2 : "And thou shalt remember 
all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these 
forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to 
prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether 
thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no." It is 
impossible to describe the effect this sermon had on 
the congregation, and especially upon the three vet- 
erans who sat behind the preacher in the pulpit. Cecil 
had better control over his emotions than any one of 
his brethren, and was, therefore, better qualified for 
preaching the sermon than any one of the others. 
The journeyings of the Israelites in the wilderness, 
their trials, temptations, and sins, their wonderful 
preservation by Providence and condign punishment 
for their acts of disobedience, were graphically de- 
scribed. The mercies of God bestowed upon the wil- 
derness wanderers, and their sorrowings over the 
graves of their fathers, who fell in the wilderness, 


were portrayed in a lifelike manner. The preacher 
held his audience spellbound. The application was 
natural, and was forcibly made; and the preacher sat 
down amidst great religious excitement among the 
people, who wept, rejoiced, and praised God aloud. 
After the excitement had somewhat subsided, each of 
the four gave a brief account of his life for the last 
forty years, and the assembly dispersed to meet again 
the following day. 

It was arranged that all the four should preach 
on Sunday. The crowd being too great to get into 
the church, the seats were carried to a grove near by. 
Samuel Newberry preached the first sermon from I 
Peter i. 24, 25, "All flesh is grass," etc. He was fol- 
lowed by Joshua Bruce, whose text was 2 Peter iii. 1 1 : 
"Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, 
what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy 
conversation and godliness?" When he had concluded, 
there was an intermission of an hour, with dinner on 
the ground. After dinner Cecil preached the third 
sermon of the day, text 2 Corinthians iv. 13: "We 
having the same spirit of faith, according as it is 
written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we 
also believe, and therefore speak." The last sermon 
was preached by Mitchell from Colossians i. 27, 28: 
"To whom God would make known what is the riches 
of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; 
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we 
preach, warning every man, and teaching every man 
in all wisdom; that we may present every man per- 
fect in Christ Jesus." This sermon was followed by 
profound religious feeling, and the meeting closed 
amid scenes of great religious excitement. The four 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 155 

never met again on earth. Newberry, Bruce, and 
Cecil preceded Mitchell to the land of rest. The 
above story was related in 1869 by Mr. Mitchell, who 
was at that time nearly eighty years old. Not a great 
while after that he ascended and joined his comrades 
where the saints of all ages congregate. 1 

Zechariah Mitchell was the little boy that went to 
the yard fence to see John Kobler pass, as related in 
the sketch of Mr. Kobler. I am well acquainted with 
the direct and collateral descendants of the four local 
preachers referred to above, and they are among the 
best citizens and stanchest Methodists of the country. 
I visited the widow of Mr. Cecil on her deathbed, 
about the year 1866, and found her anxious to depart 
and be with Christ. 

Among the local preacher pioneers of the Holston 
country the Rev. Robert W. Wynn stands prominent. 
He lived and died in Lee County, Va. I met with 
him in his old age, before he had become decrepit, 
and was impressed with his appearance and manner 
as that of a man of solid intellectual parts, of dignity 
of deportment and consistent piety. In his prime 
he was a robust man, with a strong will and singleness 
of purpose to glorify God. He was the maternal 
grandfather of the Revs. John C. and William A. Orr, 
of the Holston Conference. His wife was Polly Crab- 
tree, a daughter of Job Crabtree, a local Methodist 
preacher of Lee County, Va. Job Crabtree was 
a son of William Crabtree, a former owner of a farm 
where Saltville now stands. He was a brother 

'Letter of Rev. B. W. S. Bishop published in McFerrin's 
"Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., pp. 290-296. 


to Mrs. Priscilla Price, of Elk Garden, Russell County, 
Va., and maternal uncle of the late John W. Price, 
of Glade Spring, Va. Tradition has brought us 
the following story of the conversion of Job Crab- 
tree. He was wild and utterly indisposed to religion, 
but his wife was a pious member of the Methodist 
Church. A camp meeting having been appointed in 
the county, she requested him to go and take her to it. 
He replied that a camp meeting was no place for 
decent women ! But knowing her influence with 
him, she made preparation for the trip. On the morn- 
ing when she wished to start she kindly asked him to 
catch out the horses, which he reluctantly did. As 
they went toward the camp ground he separated from 
her for a while to go by a stillhouse to procure a 
bottle of whisky, which he did. When they reached 
the ground, he put his bottle into the spring to keep 
the contents cool, and invited friends to drink with 
him when preaching was over. He then went to the 
shed to hear the sermon. While the sermon was in 
progress he became powerfully convicted of sin. In 
the meanwhile his companions became impatient, and 
came to him and touched him gently, saying in a low 
tone : "Let us go and have a drink." He replied 
curtly: "I won't do it!" After the sermon he went to 
the spring and broke the bottle, thus destroying the 
contents. He then started to the grove to pray ; but 
passing by where a man driving a team with a 
heavy load up a steep hill was unmercifully whip- 
ping one of the horses, he ripped out an oath, cursing 
the man ; but, his conscience smiting him at once, he 
hastened to the grove. Hiding himself in the lap of 
a fallen tree, he began to confess his sins to God; 

FROM iBlO TO 1813. 157 

when a faithful old Methodist layman who, by that 
kind of discernment of spirits which was characteristic 
of the early Methodists, had discovered that Crabtree 
was under conviction, and had followed him into his 
covert, kindly instructed and prayed with him. Crab- 
tree joined the Church without professing regenera- 
tion. After he had returned home, one of his old 
companions determined to test the genuineness of his 
change. As Crabtree was riding along the road one 
day this man galloped up to him and said in an appar- 
ently sincere tone: "Job Crabtree, I can whip you." 
With -,an oath Crabtree said, "You can't do it," and 
alighted. But his tantalizer just galloped ahead, and 
looking over his shoulder said: "You are a pretty 
Christian, swearing and wanting to fight as you do!" 
The rebuke went home, and Crabtree turned aside into 
the woods, got upon his knees, and vowed to God that 
he would not leave the spot till his sins had been 
forgiven and his heart changed. In a short time the 
blessing came, and Job Crabtree was a new man. He 
had sworn his last oath; and now he began a career 
of piety, in which he served God as faithfully as he 
ever did the devil. Really his piety was sublime. 
Religion was his theme, and to do the will of God was 
his meat and drink. He was a burning and shining 
light.- He seldom parted with a friend without a word 
of prayer. His good influence in Lee County, Va., 
and surrounding counties eternity alone will reveal. 
The Lord blessed Job Crabtree with a pious family, 
and his son-in-law, Robert W. Wynn, was worthy of 

Robert Whitley Wynn was born in Tazewell Coun- 
ty, Va., March 15, 1789; and died at his home ? 


in Lee County, Va., December 6, 1873, aged eighty- 
four years, eight months, and twenty-one days. The 
Rev. Alexander Doniphan, in an interview with Fa- 
ther Wynn in 1869, gathered substantially the fol- 
lowing particulars of his life. In approaching Father 
Wynn for the first time he felt as, no doubt, did one 
of the younger members of the school of prophets 
when ushered into the august presence of Samuel, the 
venerable judge and seer of Israel. He found him 
seated in an "old armchair," with all the evidences of 
physical comfort except the infirmities of age, the sad- 
dest of which was the loss of sight. He saluted his 
visitor with great cordiality. In answer to inquiries 
Mr. Wynn gave a very interesting account of his 
conversion. In his twenty-fourth year, while still 
in the bonds of iniquity, he one day ascended to the 
summit of one of the high mountains in the county 
where he lived. While surveying the panorama of 
mountains and valleys spread out before him, the 
scenery impressed him as it never had done before. 
While meditating upon the beauty and grandeur of 
the scene, the question came to his mind : "Did all these 
high mountains and verdant vales come by chance?" 
He saw before him evidences of intelligent design and 
of infinite goodness ; and he was forced to the conclu- 
sion that all this was the work of an Almighty Being, 
the God to whom he owed his life and faithful service. 
Thus the "still small voice" that came to Moses in the 
cleft of the rock penetrated the reason and conscience 
of Mr. Wynn, and he resolved from that moment to 
seek the Lord as revealed in the brighter and more 
glorious revelation of himself in the word of his grace. 
He accordingly commenced reading the Bible and 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 159 

praying in secret. He also frequented the sanctuary 
to hear the gospel and to attend upon class meet- 
ings — an institution highly prized by the Methodists of 
that day. At one of these, conducted by his father, 
he was called on to pray, though really ignorant of 
the way of access to the throne of grace. He took up 
the cross and did the best he could. Shortly after 
this he joined himself to an exhorter who was holding 
meetings through the country, and accompanied him 
from place to place. He was often called on to pray 
in the meetings which he attended, and also to con- 
duct family devotions. One night, being requested to 
conduct family worship, he replied that he could not 
because a dense darkness had settled on his mind and 
he was paralyzed with an oppressive sense of sin and 
guilt. Being, however, pressed into the task, he read 
a chapter, and, with the household, fell upon his knees 
to pray, when suddenly his mental darkness vanished, 
his sense of guilt was removed, his prayer was changed 
to praise, and, like the lame man that was healed at 
the gate of the temple called Beautiful, he found 
himself walking, leaping, and praising God. This 
was the 22A of June, 18 12. From that time to the 
date of his interview with Mr. Doniphan he had had 
the witness within assuring him of his acceptance 
with God. In a year from that time he became a 
preacher, and he grew in popularity and usefulness till 
God said to him : "It's enough ; come up higher." He 
had a tall and graceful person, and his features were 
of the finest mold. With a heart full of love divine, 
and a voice of unusual compass and melody, his words 
could soothe the hearts of the sorrow-stricken with 
more than musical sweetness ; then, fastening his strong 


mental vision upon the hideous forms of sin before 
him, he could pour forth such a torrent of denunciation 
as to break up the foundations of iniquity and compel 
the conscience-stricken sinner to fall at the foot of the 
cross and cry for mercy. Mr. Wynn's educational 
advantages had been limited ; but the deficiency was 
supplied by diligence in the use of such means of in- 
struction as were within his reach, whilst by his per- 
sistent attention to the duties of the closet he acquired 
and maintained that unction which rendered him pow- 
erful in the pulpit. He was a teacher as well as a 
herald, and few preachers in the bounds of the Hol- 
ston Conference excelled him in the soundness and 
clearness of his theological views as presented from 
the sacred stand. Mr. Wynn never entered the trav- 
eling connection ; but he had his regular appointments, 
and he stated to Mr. Doniphan that in forty years he 
had missed only four appointments. He was a great 
camp meeting preacher, and often occupied prominent 
hours at camp meetings. It has been asserted that he 
was instrumental in converting more souls in the sec- 
tion where he lived than any preacher, local or travel- 
ing, who ever labored there. He preached his last ser- 
mon in 1863, during the Civil War. After that his 
blindness shut him up to his own rural home, where, 
nursed and caressed by a faithful wife and loving 
children and grandchildren, he waited patiently for 
his discharge from the Church militant. 1 

William Garrett, brother to the Rev. Lewis Gar- 
rett, who has already been noticed, was, while a per- 

1 Letter of Rev. A. Doniphan written to Dr. Cunnyngham 
in 1869. 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. l6l 

manent citizen of Cocke County, Tenn., brought to a 
knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus through the 
instrumentality of Methodist preaching. Dr. McFer- 
rin had the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with 
this good man in the evening of his life, and he found 
him "meek, agreeable, and wholly consecrated to God." 
Being a man of superior intellect and superior edu- 
cational advantages, a man in affluent circumstances, 
and withal a devoted Christian and untiring laborer in 
the vineyard of the Lord, as a local preacher he de- 
serves honorable mention among the pioneers who 
planted and fostered Methodism in East Tennessee. 

William Garrett was born in Orange County, N. 
C, December 10, 1774. When he was quite a 
boy his father, Lewis Garrett, started with a company 
of emigrants to Kentucky, but died on the way. The 
family proceeded, and located at Scott Station. Grow- 
ing up amid the perils and privations of that wilder- 
ness settlement, he acquired and cultivated those 
sturdy virtues which afterwards made him a man 
among men. When a young man, he settled in Cocke 
County, Tenn., and engaged in the practice of law. 
In this profession he was successful, filling for some 
time the office of Attorney-General for the judicial 
circuit within which he lived, and afterwards the 
office of County Court Clerk for thirty years. He 
was converted in 18 12. At that time he occupied a 
leading position in his community pecuniarily and so- 
cially. His change was radical, and he at once allied 
himself with the Methodist Church and became an 
acknowledged leader in all its enterprises. He pitched 
his tent on five different camp grounds, and aided lib- 
erally in entertaining the multitudes that flocked to 


them on camp meeting occasions. He projected the 
old Zion church near Newport, and superintended its 
erection. This church became one of the leading 
centers of Methodist operations in that section. 
Preachers from far and near sought his hospitable 
mansion for rest and refreshment. The wealth and 
intelligence of Mr. Garrett had much to do with mak- 
ing his place a comfortable home for preachers, but 
not so much as the kind and queenly assiduities of his 
excellent wife. She was a devout, happy, and con- 
stant follower of the Lord Jesus. She was long re- 
membered by those who knew her for her songs of 
praise and shouts of joy. 

Mr. Garrett's wife, Betsy Chelly, was a daughter of 
Col. Thomas Gray, a prominent lawyer from North 
Carolina. She was of a superior order of intellect, 
and was well educated for her times. In early life 
she was gay, but embraced religion about the time 
her father and husband did, in 1812, and immediately 
joined the Methodist Church, in which she lived a 
consistent member to the day of her death, which 
occurred in July, 1850. She died at the age of sixty- 
eight years. Many weary Methodist preachers par- 
took of the bounties of her table, at which she pre- 
sided with womanly dignity and grace, and rested and 
refreshed themselves under her hospitable roof. She 
was quiet, modest, kind, and amiable in temper. In- 
dustrious and systematic in her household duties, she 
found time for reading, meditation, and prayer. She 
exerted a widespread influence for good upon all 
classes of society. When her husband was absent 
from home, she did not hesitate to conduct family 
worship, and her prayers were not hurried and per- 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 163 

functory, but solemn and earnest. She was gifted in 
prayer, and often arose from the family altar happy 
in the love of God and shouting his praises. She 
dispensed her hospitalities to such men as Asbury, 
Whatcoat, McKendree, Roberts, George, Lewis Gar- 
rett, James Axley, George Ekin, James Cumming, 
Thomas Stringfield, Elbert F. Sevier, Jesse Cunnyng- 
ham, John Henninger, John Haynie, George Atkin, 
and Josiah B. Daughtry. This is only a partial list 
of those who found rest and refreshment in this de- 
lightful home. Mrs. Garrett often spoke of John A. 
Granade's visits to her home, of his deep piety, and of 
the hours he spent in the woods in meditation and 

Mr. Garrett heard the first Methodist preacher that 
preached in Newport. The preaching was in the 
courthouse. Just after the preacher had taken his 
text, he was interrupted and grossly insulted by a 
ruffian, who came before him, shook his fist in his 
face, and cursed him. Mr. Garrett promptly inter- 
fered, had the man arrested and brought to punish- 
ment, took the preacher home with him after preach- 
ing, and gave h r m the support of his indorsement and 

Mr. Garrett was licensed to preach in 1822, at the 
age of forty-eight. He never entered the traveling 
connection, but was unusually industrious and useful 
as a local preacher up to the day of his death. He 
was kept out of the ministry many years on account 
of his connection with slavery, for he was a slave- 
holder. James Axley, who was for many years pre- 
siding elder in districts embracing Newport, was anti- 
slavery in the administration of discipline; and he 


not only refused to license slaveholders to preach, but 
denied them the privilege of exhorting or even lead- 
ing in prayer meetings. He denounced slaveholders 
as no better than thieves and robbers. George Ekin 
was sent to Nollichucky Circuit in 1822, and his ad- 
ministration was more liberal; indeed, the Church 
threw off the restraint imposed by his predecessors, 
and Mr. Garrett was licensed to preach. Really Ekin 
was himself antislavery, always was ; but he was more 
of a Christian than a politician, and he had something 
of apostolic breadth and liberality. Mr. Garrett la- 
bored as a local preacher for ten years in the counties 
of Cocke, Sevier, Jefferson, Greene, Washington, 
Blount, Knox, Monroe, and McMinn, and a great por- 
tion of the time in the midst of great religious ex- 
citement. Private houses were thrown open to him 
for preaching, and his journal shows that when he 
was able he preached three or four times on the 
Sabbath as well as on Saturday night. He was known 
to have been sent for at night to go eight or ten miles 
to pray with unconverted persons who were at the 
point of death. In 1832 he removed to Giles County, 
Tenn., and settled on Bradshaw's Creek. In 1836 
he removed to Nashville. In 185 1 he went to the 
house of his son, Col. William Garrett, in Coosa Coun- 
ty, Ala., where he continued to preach till his death, in 


Perhaps no local preacher of his day performed 

more labor and did more good than he did. He had 
seals to his ministry wherever he labored. His per- 
son and presence were inspiring, his dress was always 
tasteful and neat, and his manners were easy, simple, 
and engaging. He had fine conversational powers, 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 165 

and his conversations were characterized by a high 
moral tone. His sermons were purely evangelical in 
matter, and they were couched in a terse, natural style. 
He was animated without being boisterous. He sel- 
dom preached that he did not get happy. He pos- 
sessed an unusual share of physical and moral cour- 
age, and he was bold to denounce sin in all its forms. 
He reproved and rebuked "with all authority," was 
jealous of the honor of his divine Master, and would 
never allow any reflection upon him to pass unnoticed. 
In his old age he wrote much for the Christian Advo- 
cate, and left, at his death, many written sermons and 
essays on religious subjects, besides a diary running 
through many years of his Christian life. 1 

"'Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., pp. 239-250. 


From 1810 to 1813 (Continued). — Sketches of 


The first session of the Tennessee Conference was 
held at Fountain Head, in Sumner County, Tenn. 
According to the Minutes it was to begin November 
1, 1812; but for some reason it did not begin till a 
few days later. McAnally says it began on the 9th, 1 
while McFerrin says it began on the 12th. Asbury 's 
Journal supports McAnally, while McFerrin says that, 
while writing, he had "the original journal [of the 
Conference] before him." 2 Asbury and McKendree 
were both present ; but McKendree seems to have con- 
ducted the business of the Conference, and the jour- 
nal was signed by him. Asbury was decreasing and 
McKendree was increasing. William B. Elgin was 
elected secretary. The Conference resolved to meet 
at 9 o'clock a.m. and adjourn at 12 o'clock, and again 
to meet at 12 130 and adjourn at 3 o'clock. The short 
noon intermission of a half hour will strike us con- 
vivial people of the present day. There was no reg- 
ular roll of members ; nor is there a specific statement 
in the journal as to who were present or absent. The 
Conference also adopted rules of order, controlling the 

x "Life of Dr. S. Patton," p. 142. 
2 "Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., p. 173 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 167 

presiding officer as well as the members. The last 
item is specially worthy of note. 

The entire Conference reported a Church mem- 
bership, white and colored, of 22,699; while the Ohio 
Conference at its session reported 23,284. These fig- 
ures show that the partition was a fair division of the 
membership. The Holston District reported as fol- 
lows : 

Whites. Colored. 

Holston 540 132 

Saltville 480 102 

Nollichucky 703 41 

French Broad 1,263 81 

Clinch 1,022 no 

Powell's Valley 800 

Carter's Valley 421 

Tennessee Valley 565 75 

Total 5,794 54i 

Grand total, 6,335; a gain of 1,976 — figures that denote 
great prosperity. 

The reader will be impressed with the large num- 
bers reported from French Broad and Clinch Circuits, 
and it is proper to note that George Ekin and Josiah 
Crawford were in charge of the former, while Sam- 
uel H. Thompson and Richard Conn had charge of 
the latter. Honor to whom honor. 

At this Conference (1812) the following were ad- 
mitted on trial : Samuel Brown, John Allen, Claiborne 
Duvall, John Nixon, John Smith, William King, 
Thomas Nixon, Zachariah Witten, Mumford Harris, 
Isaac Conger, Benjamin Malone, William Douthit, 
Boaz Ady, Jesse Hale, Elisha Lott, James Porter, John 


The appointments for the district were : 

James Axley, presiding elder. 
Abingdon, Baker Wrather. 
Nollichucky, Lewis Anderson. 
French Broad, George Ekin. 
Tennessee Valley, Thomas A. King. 
Clinch, John Henninger, William Douthit. 
Carter's Valley, William King. 
Powell's Valley, Mumford Harris. 
Knoxville, Samuel H. Thompson. 
Holston, Sela Paine. 

After the close of the Fountain Head session the 
bishops made a hasty trip through a portion of the 
Holston country, and up the French Broad into Bun- 
combe County, N. C. Saturday, November 20, the 
bishops made a leisurely ride to Winton's. For the 
hardships of his travels Asbury comforts himself with 
the reflection that there had been an increase of eight 
thousand members in the Tennessee Conference. On 
the 22cl they went through the rain to Knoxville, and 
lodged with Father Wagner, one of Otterbein's men. 
It will be remembered that Otterbein was a particular 
friend of Asbury, and through his evangelical zeal 
became the founder of the Church known as the Unit- 
ed Brethren in Christ. The prelates stopped with 
Mr. Foute in or near Dandridge, and there the senior 
bishop baptized six of his host's children. They forded 
the Pigeon near its mouth on their way to James Gil- 
liland's. On Sabbath, the 29th, Asbury and McKen- 
dree preached, and Henry Boehm exhorted. Asbury 
found relief for his cold in a few grains of tartar 
emetic. Speaking of the results of their preaching in 
the French Broad and Pigeon country, Asbury says: 
"God hath wrought upon the vilest of the vile in 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 169 

the forks of the Pigeon and French Broad Rivers, 
and he will yet do wonders." Wednesday, De- 
cember 3, finds the bishops at Killian's ; Thursday they 
reach Samuel Edney's. After a service at Father 
Mills's they scale the mountain for South Carolina. 1 

The second session of the Tennessee Conference 
began at Rees's Chapel, in Williamson County, Tenn., 
October 1, 1813, and lasted six days. Bishops Asbury 
and McKendree were both present, but McKendree 
occupied the chair throughout the session, except when 
the name of James McKendree, the Bishop's brother, 
was announced in an application for elder's orders; 
then, for a few moments, McKendree vacated the 
chair, and Asbury presided. W r hen this case was dis- 
posed of, McKendree resumed the chair. There were 
only three standing committees — those on public wor- 
ship, finance, and publishing interests. 

The Holston District reported numbers as follows : 

Whites. Colored. 

Abingdon 446 57 

Nollichucky 810 47 

French Broad 638 51 

Clinch 916 103 

Tennessee Valley 57 1 88 

Carter's Valley 368 

Powell's Valley 696 40 

Knoxville 492 45 

Holston 612 34 

Total 5,549 465 

Grand total, 6,014; a decrease of 321. 

This decrease has been attributed to the disturbed 
condition of the country; for at that time the war 

v "Asbury's Journal," Vol. III., pp. 337, 338. 


with England was at its maximum. Many had been 
pressed into the service ; and the excitement necessarily 
occasioned by a struggle of our young republic with 
the most puissant civil power on earth was calculated 
to divert the minds of the people from spiritual things. 
War is a cruel, brutal thing; and in pursuance of the 
psychic power of suggestion it degrades and demoral- 
izes. This power of suggestion is one fact that ac- 
counts for the viciousness and recklessness of soldiers 
in actual service, although knowingly exposed to dan- 
ger and death. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so 
is he." "Thoughts are things ;" and the man who ad- 
justs his whole being to the idea of carnage and 
bloodshed, pillage and devastation, usually seeks a low- 
er moral and spiritual level. Men who passed through 
the War between the States can well call to mind the 
evident lowering of the moral standard among the 
people, and the religious carelessness and moral reck- 
lessness which prevailed to an alarming extent. The 
same fact is noticeable in connection with all wars. 
They demoralize the soldier in the army and the citizen 
at home. 

But other causes may have operated to create the 
decrease. There had been great spiritual prosperity, 
and the time for the reaction had come. The wave 
theory applies to the spiritual as well as to the natural 
world. We not only have the wave theory of sound, 
of light, of heat, of electricity ; but the wave theory 
of thought and feeling. We have our cold and hot 
waves in the spiritual world. 

The following were admitted into the Conference 
on trial at this session (1813) : John Hartin, John Le 
Master, Thomas Bailey, Haman Bailey, Hardy Cryer, 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 171 

William Stribbling, Joshua Butcher, Ivy Walke, Val- 
entine D. Barry, Josiah Patterson, John Daniel, Reu- 
ben Claypole, Nicholas Norwood, John Schrader, John 

The Holston appointments for the coming year 
were : 

James Axley, presiding elder. 

Abingdon, George Ekin. 

Nollichucky, Sela Paine, Nicholas Norwood. 

French Broad, John Hartin. 

Tennessee Valley, Jesse Cunnyngham. 

Clinch, Benjamin Malone, William Stribbling. 

Carter's Valley, Thomas A. King. 

Powell's Valley, William King, John Menefee. 

Knoxville, Richard Richards. 

Holston, John Travis, William Douthit. 

Cumberland, John Bowman. 

Cumberland was a new circuit with a name that 
had been used before for what was subsequently called 
the Tennessee Valley Circuit ; here it is applied to new 
territory — namely, the Walden's Ridge and Cumber- 
land Mountain section lying between East Tennessee 
and Middle Tennessee and adjacent to Kentucky. I 
suppose it embraced Sequatchee Valley, as far as it 
was inhabited by whites, and all that mountainous 
section where the Tennessee and Holston Conferences 
have been for a long while maintaining domestic mis- 
sions. The domain was large, but the people few and 
poor; and it was an unpromising field. Mr. Bow- 
man, though pious and diligent, seems not to have 
accomplished much, and we hear no more of Cumber- 
land Circuit for a number of years. 

After Conference the bishops passed through Hol- 
ston into South Carolina. Asbury preached at O'Ha- 


ver's. They visited the Boilings, Nelsons, Barnards, 
and Killians, preaching and praying all along the 
route. 1 

Elisha Bowman was admitted into the Western 
Conference in 1801, superannuated in 1808, and made 
effective again in 181 1. He traveled in Ohio, Vir- 
ginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Kentucky. He was 
appointed to New River Circuit in 1803, and to 
French Broad in 1804. He was born in Virginia 
December 25, 1775 ; and came with his father to Mad- 
ison County, Ky., when a child. His father being a 
local preacher, he received religious training, and 
early made a profession of religion. At the age of 
sixteen he was licensed to preach, but did not join 
the Conference till he had reached the age of twenty- 
six. According to the Minutes he was appointed to 
Opelousas, in Louisiana, in 1805 and 1806; but Thom- 
as Lasley says that he was appointed to New Orleans. 2 

If Lasley is correct, we can account for Mr. Bow- 
man's appearing in the Minutes as appointed to Ope- 
lousas upon the assumption that he had quitted New 
Orleans and gone to Opelousas before the printing 
of the Minutes for 1806, and that in the Minutes Ope- 
lousas was substituted for New Orleans. Jones, in 
the "History of Methodism in Mississippi," assumes 
that he was originally appointed to Opelousas. 3 The 
question cannot be settled, and it is not important that 
it should be. But it is evident that Elisha Bowman 
was the first Methodist preacher that raised the stand- 

"'Asbnry's Journal," Vol. III., pp. 356, 357. 
^Letter of Thomas Lasley in the IV ester h Christian Advo- 
cate, August 7, 1840. 

""Methodism in Mississippi," Vol. I., p. 146. 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 173 

ard of the cross in the Crescent City. In a letter to 
the Rev. William Burke, dated "Opelousas, January 
29, 1806," he gives an account of his troubles and 
labors in New Orleans and the Opelousas country. 
He was disappointed in finding very few Americans 
in New Orleans, and the majority of that few might 
have been called beasts of men. There were a few 
respectable American families, but they were Epis- 
copalians and had a preacher of their own — Mr. Chase 
(afterwards Bishop Chase), of Illinois. Mr. Bowman 
obtained consent of the Governor to use the capitol as 
a preaching place, but through the influence of the 
Episcopalians he was locked out. This occurred two 
successive Sabbaths, when he preached to a few drink- 
ing men on the streets. Almost out of money, with 
no apparent open door for usefulness in the city, he 
made his way as best he could along the river and 
through swamps and lakes to Opelousas. Swimming 
the streams and baptized with showers of rain, he was 
often dripping with water for hours together, and he 
had rheumatism in all his joints ; but all the while his 
soul was filled with celestial fire. He writes: "Glory 
to God and the Lamb ! I can say that I never enjoyed 
such a power and a heaven of love as I have for a few 
days past. I have not a wish but that the will of 
God be done in me, through me, and by me." These 
adventures and this rich religious experience indicate 
the stuff that Bowman was made of, and he was a 
fair sample of the Methodist preachers of his day. 
The culture, polish, and superior pulpit ability of Mr. 
Bowman would have made him acceptable in the best 
society; but he was willing to forego all the advan- 
tages of the old pastoral charges that he might be 


instrumental in opening the way for the successful 
preaching of the gospel to this rude and ignorant 
population on the outskirts of civilization. He trav- 
eled over much of the country between Vermilion 
Bay and Catahoula. He preached almost exclusively 
in private dwellings. He, however, collected only sev- 
enteen members. This was no failure ; in the circum- 
stances it was a success. The Mississippi is a mighty 
river, but it originates in a small spring. The begin- 
nings of great movements are often small. The acorn 
is a small thing, but it gives birth to a giant of the 
forest. Bowman sowed the seed, and now we have 
the fruit in a large and influential Church in the 
Southwest. It is to be regretted that we have no 
record of the labors of Bowman in the Holston coun- 
try. This record would doubtless add a page of in- 
teresting matter to our story. 

Broken down in health, Mr. Bowman studied medi- 
cine, practiced it to the end of his life, and became 
eminent in the profession. In Estill County, Ky., 
his house became a regular preaching place. He was 
industrious as a local preacher. He was endowed 
with a high order of natural gifts, which were well 
disciplined, and he was an able champion of the doc- 
trines and usages of his Church. The last two years 
before his death he preached more frequently than 
usual. He died October 3, 1845. 1 

Jonathan Jackson was admitted into the traveling 
connection in 1789, and located in 1814. For a quar- 
ter of a century he did effective work in the itinerancy. 

*Dr. H. N. McTyeire, in "Biographical Sketches of Emi- 
nent Itinerant Ministers," pp. 254-260. 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 175 

His Holston appointments were: 1804 (spring), Swan- 
nanoa; 1804 (fall), presiding elder of the Holston 
District; 1809-12, presiding elder of the Catawba Dis- 

I claim Catawba District as partly Holston ground 
because the district not only embraced what after- 
wards became Catawba Circuit, and was for a long 
time a part of the Holston Conference, but it crossed 
the Blue Ridge and embraced a considerable part of 
the section of Western Carolina west of the ridge — a 
section where Holston Methodism operated for many 

Jackson seems to have been a man of ability, as 
well as zeal and piety. His appointments indicate the 
confidence reposed in him by the Church. He filled 
some of the most responsible positions in South Car- 
olina, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Aft- 
er his location he abandoned the ministry and be- 
came separated from the Church; how or why, we 
know not. He brought up an excellent family, and 
some of them were worthy members of the Methodist 
Church, and comforted their aged father in his declin- 
ing years. Dr. McFerrin at one time had an inter- 
view with him at the home of Mrs. Auld, a daughter. 
He was then advanced in years, and an intelligent and 
quiet old gentleman. 1 

A melancholy interest gathers about the name of 
a man who for years has stood on the walls of Zion, 
giving the trumpet no uncertain sound, but for some 
cause has laid that trumpet aside. Jackson's resigna- 
tion of the ministry and separation from the Church, 

^'Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., pp. 15, 16. 


whether by compulsion or choice, whether from moral 
aberration, or from change of views as to theology or 
Church polity, or from indignation at personal treat- 
ment by the authorities or by the people — it matters 
not from what cause — necessarily awaken sad reflec- 
tions. Strange to say, that facetious writer, Dr. A. M. 
Chreitzberg, of Charleston, S. C, who has been writ- 
ing up the Methodist heroes of the past in the South- 
ern Christian Advocate, seems to know nothing of this 
sad chapter in Jackson's history. The following is in 
substance Dr. Chreitzberg's mention of Mr. Jackson: 
Jackson was six years on c'rcuits, two on stations, two 
as supernumerary, sixteen as presiding elder — in all 
twenty-six years. He located in 1814 with twelve 
others, among them William Capers, afterwards Bish- 
op. He was stationed in Charleston in 1793, and 
again in 1806. His record there is that of a son of 
thunder, dealing much in the terrors of the law, pro- 
ducing in sinners such an awful sense of danger as 
to cause many of them to rush affrighted from the 
place of preaching. Here in 1807 Jackson and Ow- 
ens encountered an attempt similar to the Dougherty 
tragedy. Two city bucks, having been reproved on 
Monday night at Cumberland in a crowded prayer 
meeting, seized the preachers with the cry: "Pump 
him! pump him!" In the uproar that ensued Owens 
escaped. On the next Sabbath, when Jackson was 
preaching at Bethel, a file of the city guard, in full 
uniform and armed with muskets, surrounded the 
church. The captain, sword in hand and in full reg- 
imentals, walked in and commanded the congrega- 
tion to disperse. The command was hardly neces- 
ary ; the blacks went at once, not standing on the 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 177 

order of their going, leaping, as they did, from the 
gallery windows ; it may be said to have rained black- 
birds. But there was no escape; they found them- 
selves prisoners of— what shall we call it, war or 
peace? Nothing of the kind could occur now, of 

Jackson was more than once presiding elder of Jo- 
seph Travis, who held him in high esteem as one 
who could bear acquaintanceship. His preaching tal- 
ents were not brilliant, but he had a genius for organ- 
ization, a gift which is said to be a sine qua nott in the 
Catholic priesthood. Alas that it is not more regarded 
among the Protestants! No priest reaches the epis- 
copate or cardinalate by his oratory, but only by his 
success in building up the Church. Jackson's ser- 
mons were characterized by orthodoxy; they were 
scriptural, practical, and dealt in statements of expe- 
rience. When local he was the same untiring, per- 
severing servant of the Most High. One who knew 
of his death records that, seeing Jackson's memory 
failing, he asked him : "Brother Jackson, do you know 
me?" "No," was the reply. "Do you know your 
wife?" Again, "No." "Do you know Jesus?" The 
flame flickered for a moment. "Jesus ?" said he ; "yes, 
I have known my Saviour better than forty years." 1 

Thomas Trower was admitted into the Virginia 
Conference in February, 1807; transferred to the West- 
ern Conference late in the same year; located in 181 1 ; 
was readmitted in 1838; and located finally in 1839. 
His appointments were: 1807, Brunswick (six 
months); 1807, Clinch; 1808, Nollichucky; 1809, 

1 A. M. Chreitzberg, in Southern Christian Advocate, 


French Broad; 1810, Holston; 1838, Kingston. All 
his itinerant and local preacher service was rendered 
in Holston, except the half year on Brunswick Cir- 

Mr. Trower was born in Albemarle County, Va., 
June 11, 1786. His parents were among the first 
fruits of Methodism in that State. They trained their 
children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; 
and this training led their son early to the cross of 
the Lord Jesus, where he sought and found redemp- 
tion, even the forgiveness of sins. He united with 
the Methodist Church, in which he lived and labored 
till his Master called him from labor to reward. In 
his twentieth year he was licensed to preach, and soon 
afterwards joined the traveling connection. He mar- 
ried and located on the Bridwell farm, at the foot of 
Eden's Ridge, in Sullivan County, Tenn., where as a 
local preacher he labored with acceptability and use- 
fulness for a number of years. He then removed to 
Post Oak Springs, Roane County, where he chiefly 
spent the remnant of his days. He died and was 
buried there. He loved the Church and her institu- 
tions, and ever took a lively interest in everything 
that pertained to the gospel. He was ardently at- 
tached to the ministry, traveling and local, and he 
always gave them a hearty welcome to his house. 
One of the last acts of his life was aiding in the 
erection of a spacious church some half mile from 
his residence. This house, which was reared mainly 
through his influence, was named Soule Chapel. But 
just as he was anticipating a great deal of happiness 
in worshiping in the new chapel God said to him: 
"It is enough ; come up higher." He lived in the 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 179 

Lord, and therefore died in the Lord. The Rev. 
David Fleming visited him often in his last affliction, 
and always found him hopeful and happy. When in- 
terrogated as to his spiritual prospects, he replied : 
"All is well ; God is with me ; my sky is clear." 1 

From a letter to Dr. Cunnyngham from Mrs. Edna 
A. Brown, a daughter of Mr. Trower, written No- 
vember 9, 1870, I take the following statement of Mr. 
Trower' s death: 

Father was a particular friend of the poor — visited them 
and administered to their wants, both temporal and spiritual. 
He educated their children, and helped them in sickness and 
in health. The day he was taken sick he visited a poor 
family, the mother being sick, with five or six little children 
dependent on her for bread. She was in great distress about 
her soul, and after father's death she told me that by his 
prayers and counsels that day she was led to believe in the 
Saviour. Father was taken sick January 18, 1849, and died 
on the 30th of the same month. Never did any one endure 
affliction with more resignation ; he was calm and happy all 
the time. Brother Thomas Stringfield visited him during his 
illness, and both became happy and praised God together. 
When about to bid farewell, Brother Stringfield remarked: 
"Brother Trower, you are crossing the Jordan of death a 
little before me. I shall soon follow, and you will greet me 
on the other shore." Father replied : "Yes ; to part no more. 
Hallelujah! praise the Lord! Bless the Lord, O my soul!" 
Brother Stringfield said: "I have many friends in heaven; 
tell them I am on the way to meet them. We have had 
many happy seasons together, but this is the best. How 
good the Lord is !" Father replied : "Yes, bless his holy 
name! I feel his presence; all is well." He spoke in a 
similar strain every day to those who visited him. 

John Brown was admitted into the Western Con- 
better of Rev. David Fleming in Methodist Episcopalian, 
February 5, 1849. 


ference in 1809; located in 1813; was readmitted in 
1818; and died March 23, 1859. His father being a 
minister of the gospel, he was brought up under reli- 
gious auspices. He labored mainly in the bounds of 
the Ohio and Kentucky Conferences, by the former 
of which he was placed on the roll of superannuates 
in 1825, and he retained this relation to the day of 
his death. He was stationed only two years in Hol- 
ston — in 1809 on Holston Circuit as the colleague of 
James Axley, and in 1810 on Powell's Valley Cir- 

Father Brown was widely and favorably known. 
Although his acquirements were gained under great 
disadvantages, his preaching ability was such as to 
command respect in any community. During his 
years of affliction and bodily infirmity he maintained 
that sweetness of temper and consistency of deport- 
ment which won for him the esteem of all who knew 
him. Just before he fell, asleep in Jesus his faithful 
wife tendered him a little water; but he replied in a 
cheerful voice : "No, my dear, you may drink here ; 
I will drink over yonder." 1 

Samuel H. Thompson was admitted into the West- 
ern Conference in 1809. His first appointment was to 
White Water, in Ohio. Afterwards he was appointed 
as follows: 1810, Nollichucky; 181 1, Clinch; 1812, 
Knoxville; 1813, Christian. Three of these circuits 
lay in Holston. He subsequently labored in Missouri 
and Illinois. He was a member of the Illinois Con- 
ference at the time of his death, which occurred March 
9, 1841. His last moments were moments of triumph. 

"'General Minutes," Vol. VIII., p. 29. 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. l8l 

Dr. McFerrin met him in the General Conference at 
Baltimore in 1840, and found him to be a man of 
sweet spirit. 

According to the Minutes, Baker Wrather was ad- 
mitted into the Western Conference in 18 10, and lo- 
cated in 181 5. He was stationed on Abingdon Cir- 
cuit in 1812. The Minutes show that he was expelled 
from the Church by the Tennessee Conference in 
18 16. Here the Minutes are self-contradictory. The 
likelihood is that Wrather was expelled as a local 
preacher, that on an appeal to the Annual Conference 
from the Quarterly Conference the judgment of the 
lower court was affirmed, and that the case thus 
found its way into the records of the Annual Confer- 
ence. Dr. McFerrin says that he was expelled for 
selling a slave and sending him South, thus separating 
man and wife. Of the real merits of the case, we 
know nothing. The ownership of slaves necessitated 
traffic in them. The separation of families, and espe- 
cially of man and wife, was one of the crying evils of 
domestic slavery. But the marriage of negroes had 
not at that time been legalized in Tennessee. The 
negroes themselves had very loose notions of the mar- 
ital relation, voluntary separation frequently occurred 
among them, and forsaken women usually found little 
difficulty in contracting new marriages. For these 
reasons forced separation among the negroes did not 
work as great a hardship among them as it would 
have done among the whites. Besides, a slave often 
became so worthless, or even dangerous, that his trans- 
portation seemed to be a necessity. Again, at that 
day slaves were practically denied the honor of a 
public hanging or of a term in the penitentiary. When 


one had committed a felony or capital crime, his mas- 
ter usually found it more convenient to send him to 
the "cotton patch," pocketing his salable value, than 
to lose his value altogether by either his imprisonment 
or his death. Mr. Wrather may have been in debt, 
and his financial obligations may have rendered the 
sale of the negro necessary. Only those, however, 
who knew the circumstances under which the sale 
was made were able to judge of the moral quality of 
the act. But at the same time it must be admitted 
that at that early day a preacher who had trafficked 
in negroes was not likely to be tried by an impartial 
and unprejudiced court, for, through the tremendous 
influence of Wesley and the mother country, the Amer- 
ican Methodist preachers were generally intensely 
antislavery. It is fortunate for the whites of the 
South that, by a strange and mysterious providence, 
they have been freed from the responsibilities con- 
nected with the ownership of slaves, and I am sure 
that they would not willingly be entangled again in 
this yoke of bondage. But they are now confronted 
by a problem almost as perplexing and difficult of 
solution as that of slavery — namely, the determina- 
tion of the social status of the negro. 

William B. Elgin was admitted into the Western 
Conference in 1808; and located, in the Tennessee 
Conference, in 18 14. He performed his whole itin- 
erant service in Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. 
Two years were given to Holston: he was appointed 
to Clinch Circuit in 1809, and to Tennessee Valley 
in 1811. 

Mr. Elgin's appointments, together with the fact that 
he was several times elected secretary of his Confer- 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 183 

ence, indicate that he was a man of considerable ability. 
He was, indeed, a man of some learning, and stood 
high as a preacher. In the controversy with the "Re- 
formers," as they were called, he took the side of re- 
form. During the period of his local ministry in the 
M. E. Church, there was a party in the Church which 
favored lay representation, opposed the presiding eld- 
ership, and objected to the episcopacy as a third order. 
They advocated the "mutual rights" of preachers and 
laymen. The question was much discussed both in 
public and in private. The discussions were some- 
times heated and denunciatory. This state of affairs 
eventually led to a separation from the Church and 
the organization of the Methodist Protestant Church, 
a Church decidedly republican in its polity. Mr. El- 
gin went with the new Church. He was prominent 
in the matter of its organization, and was several times 
elected President of his Conference. Dr. McFerrin 
received the impression that he studied medicine and 
devoted a part of his time to the practice. 1 Of the 
later years of Mr. Elgin, little is known. 

In some sections the policy of denouncing the "Re- 
formers" in strong terms was adopted, and tended only 
to enlist sympathy in their behalf; but in Tennessee 
a moderate and conciliatory policy was adopted. The 
leading men in the Tennessee Conference were con- 
servative, and checked every tendency to oppression 
in the administration of discipline anent the issues of 
the controversy. These wise and moderate measures 
robbed the cry of persecution of its force. This 
course was wiser and safer than the policy of pro- 


Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., p. 150. 


scription; for nothing is more deeply rooted in the 
American mind and conscience than the conviction 
that every man has a right to sit under his own vine 
and fig tree, none daring to make him afraid. The 
result of this policy was that the Methodist Protestant 
Church did not take deep root or have a vigorous 
growth in Tennessee; a large number of preachers 
and people of that communion have united with the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The adoption 
on the part of the latter Church of the main principle 
contended for by the "Reformers," lay representation, 
has gone far toward furnishing an argument against 
the separate existence of the Methodist Protestant 
Church. But it still lives, even in Tennessee, and 
will, no doubt, continue to live as long as there is 
dissatisfaction with the offices of presiding elder and 
bishop as they now exist in the Methodist Episcopal 

Frederic Stier was admitted in 1802, and located 
'in 1825, in the Baltimore Conference. His charges 
lay in the Baltimore Conference from 1802 to 1808, 
and mainly in the State of Virginia. He was ap- 
pointed to Red River Circuit, in the Western Confer- 
ence, in 1808. His only Holston work was the pre- 
siding eldership of the Holston District in 1809-11, 
three years. The remainder of his itinerant career 
was spent in the Baltimore Conference, where he filled 
some of the most important and responsible stations, 
such as Baltimore City and Fredericktown. 

Thomas Heliums was admitted into the Western 
Conference in 1805, and located in 1813. He trav- 
eled in Kentucky, Mississippi, Middle and East Ten- 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 185 

nessee. He was appointed to Tennessee Valley in 
181 1, and to Cumberland in 1812. 

The parents of Thomas Heliums were pious, and 
instructed him in religion from his infancy. Under 
Methodist preaching he was awakened and converted, 
and soon after his conversion he was licensed to 
preach. Worn down by the labors and hardships 
which he had undergone as a traveling preacher, he 
sought rest in location in 18 13. He then engaged in 
teaching as a means of livelihood, but lack of health 
compelled him to relinquish this occupation. He then 
began the practice of law, but, feeling that it interfered 
with his ministerial influence, he abandoned it. His 
ministerial labors in the local relation were charac- 
terized by the same zeal that he had exhibited in the 
regular work. Under protracted affliction his mind 
became a ruin, and he was partially insane the re- 
mainder of his life. But while in this state of mental 
aberration he traveled extensively and preached fre- 
quently ; yet, strange to say, his sermons gave no indi- 
cations of his insanity. He analyzed his subjects with 
force and perspicuity, and delivered his sermons with 
system and consistency ; but after leaving the pulpit 
signs of his malady would reappear. He feared all 
who approached him, regarding them as enemies, and 
sometimes exhibited defensive weapons to deter them 
from harming him. 1 While traveling in the Territory 
of Arkansas, he fell in with some acquaintances who 
induced him to attend a camp meeting. But from 
the time he reached the camp ground he seemed to 
be harassed by fear, and could not be persuaded to 

'Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. I., pp. 465, 466. 


preach till some hour on Sunday, when he preached 
one of the most lucid and powerful sermons those 
present had ever heard. After preaching he showed 
marked symptoms of lunacy, manifesting great alarm 
at the approach of friends, and at the same time exhib- 
iting in his hand a large knife. He at length got his 
horse and rode out into the trackless prairie, upon the 
border of which the camp ground lay, and has never 
been heard of since. He rode a very fine horse, and 
some suppose he was murdered by highwaymen, who 
were known to infest that region, and who, it is sup- 
posed, murdered him to get possession of his property. 
That his horse and accouterments were never heard 
of strengthens this supposition. Some months after- 
wards the skeleton of a man was found in the prairie, 
but it furnished no clue to the identity of the person 
it represented. 1 

Samuel Sellers was admitted into the Western Con- 
ference in 1805. He traveled in Kentucky till 1809, 
when he was appointed to Claiborne Circuit, in Missis- 
sippi. He was then returned to Kentucky and placed 
in charge of Barren Circuit. In 181 1 he was ap- 
pointed to Nollichucky Circuit. In 1812 he was made 
presiding elder of the Mississippi District. The terri- 
tories of Mississippi and Louisiana were erected into 
a Conference in 1812 to be known as the Mississippi 
Conference, its first meeting to be held at Spring Hill, 
Miss., November 1, 1813. Sellers enjoyed the dis- 
tinction of having discharged all the duties of bishop, 
except ordination, in the infant Conference up to 1816, 

a Rev. Jonathan Stamper, in "Home Circle," Vol. III., pp. 
214, 215. 

FROM l8lO TO 1S13. 187 

when he yielded the chair to Bishop R. R. Roberts. 
This was a period of four years. This Conference 
was deprived of the visits of a bishop during these 
years by the dangers incident to the English and In- 
dian wars of 1812-15. Jones thus describes the man: 

Mr. Sellers was rather under medium size, neatly put up, 
handsomely developed, and capable of great labor and en- 
durance; he was of light complexion, and his hair was sandy. 
In his intercourse with society he was pleasant and sociable, 
always maintaining the dignity of his holy office. His style 
of preaching was Wesleyan, and his manner warm and excit- 
ing. After passing the middle of his sermon, he extended 
his voice, apparently to its utmost limit; and his intonations, 
gestures, and expressions of countenance gave evidence of 
great earnestness. Especially during the latter half of an 
animated sermon he had a way of holding one hand at a 
time on the side of his face so as to cover the ear. Why he 
did it, the writer does not know. As he recollects several 
boisterous ministers of the same generation who were ad- 
dicted to a similar habit, he supposes they were copying after 
some noted example among their colaborers. Mr. Sellers 
had a well-balanced and carefully disciplined mind, and made 
an excellent administrative officer. This we infer from his 
well-ordered success in engineering the Mississippi Confer- 
ence through the four years of its minority and isolation dur- 
ing the English and Indian wars of 1812-15, without the pres- 
ence of a bishop or even the assistance of the aged and ex- 
perienced in the administration of Annual Conference busi- 
ness. 1 

Human nature is an imitative thing, but slavish imi- 
tation is a weakness. Originality is the principal char- 
acteristic of superior talent, and the higher order of 
intellect is not prone to imitation. It has been ob- 
served among preachers that those who copy others 

l "Methodism in Mississippi," Vol. I., pp. 260, 261. 


usually copy only their faults. It is said that Nathan 
Bangs, owing to some deformity, always held his head 
a little to one side; but he was held in such high 
esteem that his very faults seemed to be virtues, and 
many young preachers of his day were accustomed 
to hold their heads to one side, as if they had at some 
time or another suffered a cervical dislocation. I am 
somewhat surprised that so wise a man as Mr. Jones 
could not account for the origin and continuance of 
the habit, in a certain class of preachers, of holding 
their hands to their ears while speaking. Scarcely 
is anything more discouraging to a speaker than a 
lack of resonance in the hall or place where he is 
speaking; he feels all the time that he is failing. On 
the contrary, resonance greatly encourages the speak- 
er, causing him to feel that he is speaking easily and 
fluently. If the reader will make a speech in a nat- 
ural manner, and then repeat the same speech with a 
hand to one of his ears, he will see the difference in 
the apparent resonance. The closed ear doubles the 
apparent noise — apparent, however, only to the speak- 
er. The habit of clapping the hands to the ears was 
once very common among Primitive or Hardshell 
Baptist preachers, and prevailed to some extent among 
Methodist preachers. The growth of education and 
intelligence has, however, pretty well numbered this 
foolish habit among the things of the past, as well as 
the equally foolish habit of singing sermons. The 
ostrich may well be excused for believing that his 
body is hidden when only his head is concealed in 
the sand; but preachers were never excusable for be- 
lieving that they were making a great noise simply 
because they heard a roaring in their ears. 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 189 

At one time Samuel Sellers made a visit to the 
Attakapas country in Louisiana. There lived there a 
Mrs. Rice, who had the reputation of being a pious 
woman ; but she disliked the Methodists, and especially 
their habit of shouting when happy in the Lord. But 
she fell into doubts as to her acceptance with God and 
readiness to appear at the judgment seat of Christ, 
and she began to seek earnestly for light. Learning 
that Mr. Sellers was going to preach near her home, 
she went to hear him, hoping that she might receive 
some message from God's Word that would give her 
the long-sought peace. Under the sermon she got no 
relief from her heavy burden. But after the sermon 
the preacher began to sing the song beginning with 
"What wondrous love is this !" Strange feelings 
welled up in Mrs. Rice's heart. They were attended 
with such joy that she repeated to herself: "What 
wondrous love is this, O my soul?" Mr. Sellers with 
full heart advanced to the second stanza : 

When I was sinking down, sinking down, 
Beneath God's righteous frown, 
Christ laid aside his crown 
For my soul. 

There was now no suppressing of the joy that 
welled up and overflowed her heart, and she said, "Let 
the Lord do as he will ;" and now with a flood of fast- 
falling tears and her face illumined by a heavenly 
smile, she gave vent to her feelings in loud and long- 
continued praises to God. After this she was no 
longer prejudiced against the Methodists, but be- 
came an ardent advocate of a "feeling religion." 

Our old Methodist preachers were noted for their 
gift of song. The hymns they sang were not always 


the best of poetry, and their music was not always 
the most scientific ; but their songs had gospel in them, 
and their music had soul in it. Neither of these things 
can be affirmed of some of the music we hear in the 
churches of the present day. 1 

Zachariah Witten was admitted into the Tennessee 
Conference in 1812. He was born in Tazewell Coun- 
ty, Va., of highly respectable parents, and received 
a tolerable English education. From childhood he 
enjoyed the advantage of attending Methodist preach- 
ing, and as his father's house was a preacher's home 
he enjoyed the pious example and precepts of faithful 
Methodist preachers of that day. He was converted 
in 181 1, at about the age of twenty. Soon after his 
conversion he began to exercise his gifts in public 
prayer and exhortation; and his piety, promising tal- 
ents, holy boldness, and well-tempered zeal pointed 
him out as a man designed by the Holy Spirit for 
the ministry. The word of the Lord was fire in his 
bones. He felt impressed that it was his duty to 
preach, and his way being open, he was sent by the 
presiding elder, in 1812, to Powell's Valley Circuit, 
where he traveled till Conference. He was appointed 
to Duck River in the fall of 1814; but being sick, he 
visited his parents and remained with them till March, 
1815, when he started to his charge; but consumption 
had marked him as its victim, and he terminated his 
short but useful career May 18, 1815. But during 
this short career he had been instrumental in the 
awakening and conversion of many immortal souls. 

^'Methodism in Mississippi," Vol. I., pp. 332-334. 

FROM l8lO TO 1813. 191 

His last words were : "I leave this world without trou- 
ble or sorrow." 

The Witten family has been an important family 
in Church and State. Thomas Witten removed from 
Maryland to Tazewell County, Va., in 1772. 1 He 
had four sons and three daughters. One of his sons, 
Thomas, married Eleanor Cecil December 25, 1783 ; 
and another, James, married Rebecca Cecil at the same 
time. Dr. Jacob Young, in his autobiography, speaks 
of visiting a Witten family on Clinch River, in Taze- 
well County, Va., in the year 1803, when he was on 
the Clinch Circuit, and of his being much pleased 
with Mr. Witten and his excellent family. This man 
was either Thomas or James, more likely Thomas, as 
he married Eleanor Cecil, and James Quinn, a distin- 
guished traveling preacher, married a daughter of the 
Witten visited by Dr. Young, and her name was 
Eleanor. 2 

'Bickley's "History of Tazewell County, Va." 
2 Letter of Mrs. Frances Hardin Hess, of New York City, 
a direct descendant of Thomas Witten, Sr., and great- 
granddaughter of Col. William Price, of Russell County, Va. 

From 1813 to 1816. 

The Tennessee Conference met in Kennedy's 
Chapel, Logan County, Ky., September 29, 1814. 
Bishops Asbury and McKendree were both present. 
A camp meeting was conducted in connection with the 
sessions of the Conference. Asbury in his journal 
says that "Brother Douglass" was their encampment 
cook — that of the preachers, I suppose. The bishops 
were sick, lame, and in poverty. They had intended 
to visit Mississippi, but the injury that had been re- 
ceived by Bishop McKendree was so great that it was 
doubtful whether he would be able to attend even the 
South Carolina Conference; hence they were under 
necessity of foregoing the Mississippi trip. The la- 
bors of the Conference were closed in love and peace. 
The families were kind to the preachers, but they were 
much crowded. 

The Holston District reported numbers in Society 
as follows: 

Whites. Colored. 

Abingdon 425 59 

Nollichucky 810 47 

French Broad 700 38 

Tennessee Valley 423 9 

Clinch 811 78 

Carter's Valley 387 12 

Powell's Valley 360 6 

Knoxville 402 40 


FROM 1813 TO l8l6. I93 

Whites. Colored. 

Holston 547 27 

Lee 300 22 

Total 5,165 348 

Grand total, 5,513; a decrease of 501. 

I do not know to what to attribute the continued 
decrease, except the state of the country in connection 
with the war with England. 

The following were admitted on trial : George Mc- 
Neely, Nace Overall, Moses Ashworth, Jacob White- 
sides, Gabriel Pickering, Roswell Valentine, John C. 
Harbison, James Nowland, John Scrips, Elijah Gentry, 
Wiley Ledbetter. 

In the list of those admitted on trial we find the 
name of Moses Ashworth. Really he was admitted in 
1805, and located in 1809. At the Conference of 1814 
he should have been reported as readmitted ; but, 
strange to say, there was at that time no provision in 
the minutes for a question of readmission. Readmis- 
sion was usually informal ; and there was no way of 
discerning the readmission of a located preacher but by 
finding his name among the appointees to pastoral or 
other charges, or in the supernumerary list. This very 
proper question was subsequently inserted among the 
minute questions. But its absence for a long time has 
entailed some inconvenience upon the Methodist his- 

Among the names of those admitted, according to 
the minutes, we find Asa Overall. McFerrin is au- 
thority for saying that this was a mistake in the min- 
utes, and the name should have been Nace Overall. 


1 94 


I have taken the liberty of correcting the error in the 

above list. 1 

The appointments for the Holston District were as 

follows : 

James Axley, presiding elder. 
Abingdon, Sela Paine. 
Nollichucky, Benjamin Malone. 
French Broad, John Henninger. 
Tennessee Valley, John Menefee. 
Clinch, William Hart. 
Carter's Valley, Jesse Cunnyngham. 
Powell's Valley, James Porter. 
Knoxville, James Dixon. 
Holston, George Ekin. 
Lee, Thomas Nixon. 

After Conference Bishop Asbury passed through 
Middle and East Tennessee and Western North Car- 
olina to South Carolina and Georgia. Bishop Mc- 
Kendree was with him, but Asbury seldom mentions 
him in his journal. He speaks in the highest terms of 
John W. Bond, his traveling companion, a preacher 
who was driver, nurse, and pulpit substitute, when 
substitution became necessary. Bishop McKendree 
seems to have been disabled by a hurt which he had 
received, and was probably nearly as feeble as As- 
bury himself at this time. Bishop Asbury attended 
a Presbyterian meeting in East Tennessee and 
preached, and then passed through Dandridge and 
stopped with William Turnley. where he met with 
"kind souls." During this trip he was met by Richard 
Bird, who had come a hundred miles to hasten the 
bishops to a "camp meeting away on the bleak hills of 

^'Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. IT., p. "535. 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. I95 

Haywood." After reaching the camp ground Asbury 
preached and ordained W. Spann and J. Evans to 
deacon's orders ; also ordained to elder's orders Thom- 
as Bird and Samuel Edney. I follow Asbury 's jour- 
nal at this point. What camp ground was this? It 
could not have been in Haywood, as he was on the 
camp ground one day and visited Richard Bird's house 
the next; for Bird lived in McDowell County. Octo- 
ber 25 he preached in the home of Benjamin Bird, 
father of Richard and Jonathan Bird. The bishops 
then rode to Rutherford's, where they paid their bills 
by exhortation and prayer. Rutherford's I take to 
be the place where Rutherford College was afterwards 
located. 1 

In the Bishop's journal, in relation to the Confer- 
ence at Kennedy's Chapel he laments the small in- 
crease in the traveling ministry while the local min- 
istry was being augmented by numerous locations. 
Speaking of the year 1813-14, McAnally says: "Al- 
though there was but little increase in the traveling 
ministry this year, it was quite otherwise among the 
local preachers. Their numbers had greatly increased. 
Many had moved into the bounds of the Conference 
from other sections, and many others had been li- 
censed and set apart for that work." 2 

The itinerant polity of Methodism has rendered the 
local ministry a necessity in the Methodist Church. 
Many men are called to preach who are so situated 
that they cannot conveniently enter the itinerant 
ranks; many are licensed to preach — and wisely, 

'"Asbury's Journal," Vol. III., pp. 368, 369. 
'McAnally's "Life of S. Patton," p. 146. 


too — who, for one cause or another, cannot get 
admission into the traveling connection ; many, after 
traveling a number of years, find it necessary to ask 
for the local relation ; some men would be unacceptable 
as traveling preachers who can be useful as local 
preachers. It is therefore evident that, but for the 
provision in the Church for a local ministry, many men 
who feel called to preach, and who can do good as 
preachers, could not be licensed at all ; and that many 
of our best preachers would, when compelled to desist 
from traveling, be under the necessity of surrendering 
their parchments and retiring to the ranks of the 
laity. In the earlier history of the Church the cir- 
cuits were so large as to territory, and the preaching 
places on each circuit so numerous, that Sabbath 
preaching could be given to only a small proportion 
of the congregations; and yet it was very important 
to the spread and permanency of Methodism that our 
people should be served with Methodist preaching on 
Sundays, instead of being under the necessity of look- 
ing to other denominations for their Sunday spiritual 
rations. These things rendered a local ministry a 
prime necessity. To supply Sunday preaching to our 
people, we needed a local ministry large in numbers 
and respectable in ability. The fact that the marriage 
of a traveling preacher in the earlier days of Meth- 
odism in this country rendered his location almost 
necessary had a tendency to deplete the itinerant 
ranks and to reenforce the local ministry. The mul- 
tiplication of stations and the ensmallment of circuits 
as to territory have, in these days, increased the de- 
mand for pastors and diminished the demand for lo- 
cal preachers. The increased wealth and intelligence 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. I97 

cf the Churches, and the payment of better salaries 
than were paid in earlier times, have drawn our bet- 
ter talent from the local to the itinerant ranks, and re- 
tained them there. These facts have operated to di- 
minish the necessity for a local ministry, and to de- 
crease its ability and popularity ; and it is evident that 
the value and usefulness of the local ministry will 
continue to dwindle in the ratio of the increase of the 
number of pastoral charges, the ensmallment of their 
territory, and the increased pay of the traveling preach- 
ers. It will be a great while, however, before these 
causes will render a local ministry wholly unnecessary ; 
indeed, it is likely that this will never be the case. 
It is to be feared that legislation has been somewhat 
invidious as to the local ministry. It is my opinion that 
local preachers should not be classed with laymen ; 
but that, by granting them adequate representation 
in the Annual and General Conferences, this branch 
of the service should be protected, fostered, and digni- 
fied. It was evidently not the design of the apostles, 
in the organization of the primitive Church, that all 
preachers should have pastoral charges; in other 
words, that all preachers should be bishops. There 
was in that Church an evangelistic element, consisting 
of men free to go anywhere, who supplemented the 
work of regular pastors and did much to spread and 
establish Christianity. 

The increase of local preachers within the bounds 
of the Tennessee Conference was not a bad sign of 
the times. It was surely a blessing to the Holston 
country ; for the prevalence and power of Methodism 
in the bounds of the Holston Conference are largely 
due to the number, zeal, activity, and preaching power 


of its local preachers. In the pulpit they have not 
been inferior to the regular clergy in unction and ear- 
nestness; in revivals they have always occupied the 
front line in assaults on the enemy's works ; they have 
been characterized by loyalty to our institutions and 
by adherence to the doctrines of Wesley and Fletcher. 
The local ministry has a glorious history, and our 
legislators should see to it that it has an honored fu- 

Mention was made in a former chapter of the or- 
ganization of a society at Zion, in Cocke County, Tenn. 
The Hon. William Garrett, of Coosa, Ala., a son of 
the elder William Garrett, originally of Cocke County, 
gives some interesting reminiscences connected with 
this place, which I will here utilize. In 18 14 a So- 
ciety which had existed some two years erected a 
church house near the house of the Rev. William Gar- 
rett, then a layman in the Church, about one mile 
west of Newport, 1 between French Broad and Pigeon 
Rivers, on land given by Abel Gilliland. This church 
was named Zion. It was a frame house, and the first 
meetinghouse built in that style in all that country. 
The elder William Garrett, who owned a sawmill, 
prepared the lumber and superintended the erection 
of the house. The Society consisted mainly of Wil- 
liam Garrett and his wife, Betsy Chelly, Col. Thomas 
Gray, his wife and two daughters, Wesley Harrison 
and wife, Lewis Anderson and wife, Richard Ellis, 
his wife and daughters, James Gilliland and wife, Abel 
Gilliland and wife. These were most excellent peo- 

'This was the old Newport. 

FROM 1813 TO l8 16. I99 

Lewis Anderson, originally from Virginia, was a 
local preacher. He lived at first in Jonesboro, but re- 
moved in 1812 to Newport, where he established a 
saddle and harness business. Here he labored as a 
local preacher with acceptability and usefulness. In 
person he was a little below the ordinary height, was 
somewhat bulky, had blue eyes, hair rather light, with 
a pleasant countenance that made a good impression 
upon those with whom he came in contact. His man- 
ner in the pulpit was quiet, his style easy, argumenta- 
tive, and somewhat forcible. Crowds attended upon 
his ministry. He was so popular that he almost had 
a monopoly of the marriage fees of his section. 

James Gilliland was leader in the Zion Church. His 
wife was a sister of James Axley, and an excellent 
woman. Gilliland had eccentricities, which were not 
cultivated, but proceeded in part from profound reli- 
gious convictions and a rich experience. He was a 
great revival worker. When he went to a camp meet- 
ing, he would accept the first invitation to a tent, put 
his hat away securely, and there stay until he left the 
meeting. He seldom left the altar as long as there 
was a seeker of religion there. His expressions of 
religious enjoyment were sometimes sublime, and were 
calculated to awe the most obdurate heart. The bow- 
els of his compassion yearned over sinners, and he 
would break forth in almost heartbroken pleadings 
for the objects of his solicitude. He was especially at 
home in the class meeting. His favorite expression 
when his heart was overflowing with the love of God 
was: "Brethren, we are not half done with our reli- 
gion yet." 

Abel Gilliland, brother of James, was a remarkable 


man. In his youth he was desperately wicked; but 
after reaching maturity he was powerfully convicted 
and converted, and engaged in the Christian warfare 
with an ardor which knew no abatement for twelve 
years, when the wheels of nature stood still. Wil- 
liam Garrett and Mr. Gilliland were near neighbors, 
and were often together. If they were walking 
through the woods and came across a tree that had 
been shivered by a bolt of lightning, Gilliland would 
shout and praise God, saying: "See what my Mas- 
ter can do !" He was similarly affected on seeing 
the sun wheel above the horizon on a clear morning. 
Religion was his theme, but without cant or austerity ; 
for he was cheerful, sociable, and full of life. 

In 1 82 1 he removed to Alabama and located on Wolf 
Creek, in St. Clair County. There was no circuit 
preaching near him, but by preaching and exhorting 
he got some of his neighbors into the notion of joining 
the Church. He then invited Mr. Drake, of the Mis- 
sissippi Conference, to preach at his house and organ- 
ize a class; but when the door of the Church was 
opened none came forward. Mr. Gilliland then went 
to those who had promised to join, and spoke to them 
individually ; then got them all together and conducted 
them to the preacher, saying: "You will have to take 
them as a tanner takes his hides: horns, hoofs, and 
all together." Once as he was moving his family to 
camp meeting some one overtook him and told him 
that stock had broken into his cornfield. Gilliland re- 
plied : "I can't stop now ; I am bound to go to camp 
meeting, and I have left my place in the care of the 
Lord." He drove on, but had not gone far before a 
neighbor overtook him and informed him that he had 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 2ol 

put the stock out and secured the fence. Gilliland, 
overjoyed with a sense of the good providence of God, 
shouted, saying: "I knew the Lord would take care of 
my place till I returned from the meeting." Bishop 
Roberts used to relate the following anecdote: In 
passing through the wilderness from the Mississippi 
Conference to East Tennessee, about the year 1823, he 
selected Abel Gilliland as his guide. One day they 
were passing through Wills Valley, threading a nar- 
row bridle way through the forest. The bishop was 
some thirty yards ahead of his companion, when he 
heard Gilliland scream at the top of his voice, and, sup- 
posing he had been assaulted, turned his horse and 
rode back. Gilliland continued shouting with his hand 
to the side of his head, and as soon as the bishop was 
near enough he inquired earnestly : "Brother Gilliland, 
what is the matter?" Gilliland replied, at the top of 
his voice, "My soul is happy, Bishop !" and he contin- 
ued shouting and praising God for some minutes. The 
Bishop was taken aback, for the alarm at such a time 
disconcerted him ; for his thoughts were, at the time, 
of danger from Indians. 

Wesley Harrison, prompted by abolition sentiments, 
emigrated to Ohio in 1817. Indeed, from the same 
cause there was a large emigration from East Ten- 
nessee to the Northwest up to 1822. James Axley 
traveled extensively in East Tennessee, and took de- 
cided ground against allowing slaveholders to take any 
part in managing the affairs of the Church, especially 
preaching. Some other preachers agreed with him, 
though not so extreme or violent. Their course pro- 
duced much irritation and dissatisfaction; and this 
state of affairs, together with considerable emigration 


to the West, brought the Church in the Holston coun- 
try to a standstill ; it was, indeed, in a measure, para- 
lyzed, and became comparatively powerless for good. 
The organization of Colonization Societies in the coun- 
try had a considerable influence, as a safety valve to 
excitement and irritation, toward preventing a rupture 
in the Church in Holston. The antislavery feeling 
culminated in 1820, under the administration of Axley, 
who was backed in his war on slaveholders by his 
brother-in-law, Enoch Moore, a local preacher. So 
far did they go in proscription that they did not allow 
a slaveholder even to lead in prayer meeting, and thus 
many good men who were otherwise qualified to be 
useful were suppressed till this unfortunate regime 
passed away. But I have anticipated. 1 

While copying from the Hon. William Garrett, it is 
proper here to say that the elder William Garrett, at 
one time a citizen of Cocke County, Tenn., and a local 
preacher, was a brother of the Rev. Lewis Garrett, 
Sr. William Garrett's sons were Lewis, Grey, and 
William. The last-mentioned was for a number of 
years Secretary of State of Alabama. He is the author 
of the sketch from which the above items are taken. 
He was a Methodist layman. 

The Tennessee Conference met at Bethlehem Meet- 
inghouse, in Wilson County, Tenn., a place about four 
miles from the town of Lebanon and about twenty-six 
miles from Nashville, October 20, 181 5. Both bishops 
were present; but owing to the feebleness of Bishop 
Asbury, the heaviest part of the presidential work, in- 

1 Hon. William Garrett, in "Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. 
II., pp. 488-493. 

PROM 1813 TO l8l6. 2o$ 

eluding the stationing of the preachers, devolved on 
Bishop McKendree. Asbury's journal says: 

Friday, 20, we opened our Conference. Saturday, great 
peace, great order, and a great deal of business done. Sab- 
bath, 21, I ordained deacons, and preached a sermon in which 
Dr. Coke was remembered. My eyes fail. I will resign the 
stations to Bishop McKendree; I will take away my feet. It 
is my fifty-fifth year of ministry, and forty-fifth year of la- 
bor in America. My mind enjoys great peace and consola- 
tion. My health is better, which may be in part because of 
my being less deeply interested in the business of the Confer- 
ences. But whether health, life or death, good is the will 
of the Lord. I will trust him — yea, and will praise him ; he 
is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Glory ! 
glory ! glory ! Conference was eight days and a half in ses- 
sion — hard labor. Bishop McKendree called upon me to 
preach at the ordination of elders. 1 

This was Bishop Asbury's last visit to the West. 
Ere another session of the Conference, this Elijah had 
ascended in his chariot of fire. At this time the Ten- 
nessee Conference consisted of eight districts: Nash- 
ville, Cumberland, Green River, Holston, Illinois, 
Missouri, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The member- 
ship in the whole connection was 171,931 whites and 
42,304 colored people ; total, 214,235. The traveling 
preachers numbered 695. These figures show that in 
the whole connection the negro membership was only 
a little less than one-fifth of the whole. According to 
the figures there was one traveling preacher to every 
three hundred and eight members, nearly. 

Numbers in Society in the different districts of the 
Tennessee Conference were reported as follows : 

'"Asbury's Journal," Vol. III., pp. 393, 394- 


Whites. Colored. 

Nashville District 4126 472 

Cumberland District 3,554 230 

Green River District 2,587 297 

Holston District 4,981 416 

Illinois District 1,867 71 

Missouri District 878 63 

Mississippi District 1,576 478 

Louisiana District 130 3 2 

Total 19,699 2,059 

Grand total, 21,758. 

These figures show that the Holston District led in 
the number of members, having something less than 
twenty-five per cent of the entire membership of the 

The charges of the district reported this year : 

Whites. Colored. 

Abingdon 354 49 

Nollichucky 681 42 

French Broad 564 42 

Tennessee Valley 493 48 

Clinch 388 35 

Carter's Valley 294 19 

Powell's Valley 381 

Knoxville 473 36 

Holston 573 62 

Lee 360 32 

Tazewell 420 51 

Total 4,981 416 

Grand total, 5,397; a decrease of 116. 

As to this decrease McAnally says : "It will be rec- 
ollected that early in this year peace had been pro- 
claimed between the United States and England ; and 
soon after large tracts of country were opened in the 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 205 

West and Southwest for occupancy, and to these hun- 
dreds of persons emigrated from the bounds of the 
Holston District, among whom were many Methodists, 
a fact that may, at least in part, account for the de- 
crease in membership, notwithstanding some extensive 
revivals were experienced." 1 

There were other causes for the decrease, especially 
rigid discipline on the slavery question. 

At this session of the Tennessee Conference (1815) 
the following were admitted on trial : Lewis Garrett, 
John Seaton, John Hutchinson, Nathan Barnes, Dan- 
iel McHenry, Thomas Davis, John Bloom, William 
Stevenson, Benjamin Proctor, Joseph Piggott, Alex 
Flemming, Josiah Daughtry, Philip Davis, John Smith. 

The Lewis Garrett who was admitted at this Confer- 
ence was a nephew of the elder Lewis Garrett, who 
was admitted in 1794. 

The appointments for the Holston District were as 
follows : 

James Axley, presiding elder. 
Abingdon, James Porter. 
Nollichucky, John S. Ford. 
French Broad, John Bowman. 
Tennessee Valley, William Hart. 
Clinch, Ivy Walke. 
Carter's Valley, Nathan Barnes. 
Powell's Valley, John Seaton. 
Knoxville, John H ennui ger. 
Holston, John Hutchinson. 
Lee, Josiah Daughtry. 
Tazewell, George Ekin. 

Bishop Asbury preached at this Conference a me- 
morial sermon of Dr. Coke, and it is due to our read- 

x McAnally's "Life of S. Patton," p. 149. 


ers that they have a notice of this remarkable man. 
He was born at Brecon, in South Wales, October 9, 
1747. He graduated at Jesus College, Oxford. While 
at the university he was a Deist, but by reading Dr. 
Witherspoon's treatise on regeneration he was awak- 
ened to a sense of his need of that work. In 1778 his 
name first appears in the printed minutes of the Brit- 
ish Conference. In 1780 he was Wesley's assistant 
on London Circuit. September 18, 1784, he sailed for 
the United States for the first time, with Whatcoat and 
Vasey. He crossed the Atlantic eighteen times. In 
1797 the Doctor was president of the English Confer- 
ence in Leeds. In 1800 " he was president of the 
American General Conference in Baltimore. In 1804 
he visited the United States for the last time. In 1805 
he was again president of the English Conference in 
Sheffield. No Methodist of his day, it is doubtful 
whether any Protestant of his day, contributed more 
from his own private means for the spread of the 
gospel. He spent the whole of his patrimony, which 
was large, on his missions and their chapels. He was 
married twice, and to ladies of fortune who were like- 
minded with himself, and their fortunes were used 
like his own. For forty years he traversed England, 
Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the United States. He 
was the founder of the Methodist missions in the West 
Indies, in Africa, and in Asia, as well as in Ireland, 
Wales, and England; and he was the official and al- 
most sole director of the missionary work of his de- 
nomination during his long public career. Asbury in 
his journal pronounces him "the greatest man of the 
last century as a minister of Christ." He was not ex- 
ceeded by either Whitefield or Wesley in the extent of 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 207 

his travels and in his untiring devotion to the cause 
of God. At the age of sixty-seven he conceived the 
project of introducing Methodism into the great con- 
tinent of Asia. He presented himself before the Brit- 
ish Conference, and against great opposition entreated 
the Conference with tears to send him as a missionary 
to India, agreeing to defray his own expenses and 
those of seven chosen colleagues. The Conference 
yielded, and on the 30th day of December, 18 13, he de- 
parted with his little heroic band, consisting of ten 
persons, including himself and two wives of the mis- 
sionaries. The zeal of the Lord literally consumed 
him. All his working hours on the sea were spent in 
prodigious labors — private prayer, the study of God's 
Word, letter-writing, translating hymns and tracts into 
the Portuguese, etc. He was whetting the sword of 
his spirit to too sharp an edge, and it was rapidly cut- 
ting its way through the scabbard of his mortal flesh. 
His friends admonished him of his danger. They oc- 
casionally decoyed him to the deck to see shoals of 
flying fish, the capture of a shark, the sight of a whale, 
or the view of an island; for he took delight in such 
sights, and always thanked his friends for notifying 
him of an opportunity to see them. On the morning 
of May 3, 1814, his servant knocked at his cabin door 
to awake him at the usual time, but heard no response. 
Opening the door, he beheld the lifeless body of the 
great divine extended on the floor. "A placid smile 
was on his face." He probably died of apoplexy be- 
lore midnight. Coke was a great man, and compared 
favorably with Wesley, Whitefield, and Asbury. But, 
like all other men, he had his limitations and weakness- 
es. His attempt to unite the Methodist and Protestant 


Episcopal Churches was worse than a crime; it was 
a blunder. The Methodist Churches will, as it is, lose 
their evangelical fire soon enough, and will soon 
enough, I fear, take the back track toward ritualism 
and dead forms ; but a union of the two Churches at 
that day would have hastened this decadence. I thank 
God that Methodism was rescued from being entangled 
again in the yoke of bondage. Stevens well says that 
Coke "was profound in nothing except his religious 
sentiments. A certain capaciousness of soul, really 
vast, belonged to him ; but it never took the character 
of philosophic generalization. . . . Practical en- 
ergy was his chief intellectual trait; and if it was some- 
times effervescent, it was never evanescent." Coke 
was buried in the Indian Ocean. Notwithstanding the 
death of the leader, the mission in India was estab- 
lished, and presents "in our day a state of massive 
strength and inexpressible utility." 1 

The question of slavery was one which, as it seems, 
would not down. One of the remarkable facts of 
early Methodism in this country is that the making of 
rules seems not to have been wholly relegated to the 
General Conference, the proper law-making body of 
the Church ; but each Annual Conference exercised, in 
some cases, the right of making its own rules. Hence 
the ever-varying action on this subject. The line of 
demarcation between the powers of the General and 
Annual Conferences is better defined in our day, and 
this fact has secured greater stability of law and 
greater uniformity of administration. 

"'General Minutes," Vol. I., pp. 265-268; also Stevens's 
"History of the M. E. Church/' Vol. IV., pp. 503-507. 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 


Slavery was a vexed question. It existed in the 
Southern States, was authorized by the Constitution 
of the United States, and was protected and regulated 
by the laws of the several States. The Federal Union 


could not have been established except as a league 
between sovereign States, in which they reserved to 
themselves the right of regulating their own local 
and internal affairs. The Constitution was a solemn 
compact recognizing and guaranteeing State sover- 
eignty. Among the rights specifically reserved to the 
States was that of regulating the institution of domes- 
tic slavery. When the Methodist preachers came into 


the South, they found the relation of master and slave 
actually existing. They found in the course of time 
that the laws of many of the Southern States did not 
allow the manumission of slaves, with the right, on the 
part of the manumitted slaves, of enjoying freedom 
in the States where they were set free. In many cases 
slaves preferred slavery to emigration. As a rule, the 
institution was a mild one. The condition of the 
slave was a great improvement on that of his fore- 
fathers in Africa. It was evidently a providential in- 
stitution. It brought the heathen African into imme- 
diate contact with a high civilization and with the best 
form of Christianity known on earth. It civilized and 
Christianized him as freedom could not have done. 
The very rigors of the system tamed and domesticated 
him, and taught him the arts of civilized industry. It 
fed him, clothed him, lodged him, gave him the best 
medical attention the country afforded, built churches 
for him, and furnished him with intelligent pastoral 
instruction and oversight — largely at the expense of 
his master. There were some things that it could not 
do for him, which, if possible in the circumstances, 
would have been good for him : it could not give him 
the advantage of a liberal education ; it could not per- 
fectly establish and maintain for him the marital rela- 
tion, though even this was done in a degree ; and it 
could not utilize in the highest degree, in the forma- 
tion of his character, the influence of civil penal laws 
and of public sentiment. These evils were more or 
less incidental to the institution, and were only to be 
tolerated in view of its real advantages. These evils 
were, however, of sufficient importance to convince ev- 
ery intelligent and impartial mind that it was not the 

FROM l8l3 TO l8l6. 211 

will of God that the institution should be permanent. 
It had in it the seeds of his own dissolution. Slavery, 
having civilized and Christianized the negro up to a 
certain point, could go no farther. Having been an ele- 
vating force up to this point, it now became a depress- 
ing influence. What had been a provisional good now 
became an absolute evil. It was always a costly institu- 
tion to the white race. It deterred immigration, and 
gave the Northwest the advantage in the increase of 
population from this source. It made our people an 
agricultural people, and discouraged manufactures and 
commerce. Thus we were hewers of wood and drawers 
of water for our more wealthy and prosperous North- 
ern neighbors. It increased the consumers and dimin- 
ished the producers. It disposed the Southern white to 
idleness and extravagance. It brought the two races 
into too intimate association, and therefore superin- 
duced an unnatural and iniquitous amalgamation. For 
these reasons the Southern people will never see cause 
to regret the abolition of African slavery, as one of the 
incidental results of the War between the States. Freed 
from the incubus of domestic slavery, the South has 
shot forward in a wonderful manner in material, so- 
cial, and intellectual development. The South is 
growing rapidly in population, in manufactures, and 
commerce, in education and morals ; and southward 
the star of empire takes its way. 

But our ministers would have promoted the spir- 
itual interests of master and slave, and would have 
advanced the cause of Christianity and Methodism, by 
relegating the question of slavery to the State, and 
leaving the problem to be solved as a civil and polit- 
ical one. The attempt to abolish the institution by 


ecclesiastical action was a failure. The best men and 
women of the South owned slaves ; to them it was not 
a sin; and they did not deserve to be denounced, 
harassed, and expelled from the Church. There never 
was a purer form of Christianity than that which ex- 
isted among the Christian slaveholders of the South, 
especially in the border States; and no class of Chris- 
tian people have ever done more than they to civilize 
and Christianize the African race. The Christian 
master and mistress were usually on good terms with 
their servants. The attachment was strong and mu- 
tual, as was abundantly attested by the fact that while, 
during the War between the States, the men of the 
South were away from home and in the army the 
negroes took tender care of their women and children, 
and not a case of fiendish violence or abuse in the fam- 
ilies by the servants is on record. This is one of the 
most marvelous facts of history, and it proves the 
mildness and patriarchal nature of American domes- 
tic slavery. 

Methodist preachers who had breadth enough to 
take in the situation in the South did no harm, but 
men who were narrow and fanatical did much to 
render Methodism distasteful to the wealthier classes. 
Public sentiment and the law of Christian expediency 
gradually drove the Methodist preachers of the South 
from narrow views and narrow policies, and put them 
in sympathy with those classes in the country without 
whose influence no cause can prosper. 

In the enforcement of the rule against slavery we 
find the following action, as taken by the Tennessee 
Conference in 1812: "Levin Edney, recommended from 
Nashville Circuit; his character examined and ap- 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 213 

proved, Learner Blackman being security that he'll 
set his slave free when practicable." In like manner 
others promised and gave security that they would 
liberate their slaves •when practicable, but it was sel- 
dom found to be practicable. The Church made rules 
against slaveholding, revised them, changed them, sus- 
pended them, repealed them, and reenacted them in 
one form or another, but slaveholding went on steadily 
increasing in the Church. About the only effect such 
legislation and such judicial action had was to keep 
out of the Church many good families who otherwise 
would have joined it and made useful members of it. 
Nothing but the inherent truthfulness of our doctrines, 
together with the sincerity and earnestness of our 
preachers, could have enabled the Church in those 
days to stem the tide of opposition aroused by its un- 
wise rules on the subject of slavery and, for that mat- 
ter, other subjects as well, enacted and enforced by the 

At the Conference of 18 15 the question of slavery 
came up again. The slavery rule, which recognized 
slaveholding as per se a sin, and therefore to be extir- 
pated at whatever cost, was to the Church in the South 
a badly fitting garment; and the Conference was an 
honest but unskillful tailor, who was persevering but 
constantly perplexed in the futile effort to fit the gar- 
ment to the wearer. 

The following questions were proposed by Thomas 
L. Douglass for an explanation of the slave rule. Each 
question was taken up separately and answered as fol- 

1. If a person buys or sells in order to keep husbands and 


wives, parents or children, together, are they considered there- 
by to have entered into the slave trade? 
The answer was, Yes. 

2. If a person buys or sells with a view to keeping fam- 
ilies together, or in any case which ig obviously a case con- 
sistent with justice and mercy, is he to be called to account 
and arraigned as if guilty of a crime? 

The Conference voted, Yes. 

3. Are the terms justice and mercy to be considered as 
applying exclusively to the slave, or are they to be extended 
to the buyer or seller also? 

The answer was, To the slave exclusively. 

4. On taking the decision of the Quarterly Conference, in 
any case, is it proper to take the vote that the person has 
not acted contrary to the principles of justice and mercy, in- 
stead of that he has acted consistently with justice and mercy? 

The answer was, The last mode of putting the question is 

5. If a member of our Society buys or sells a slave or 
slaves, is a citation to the Quarterly Meeting Conference the 
first step that must be taken in order to try the case ? 

The answer was, Yes. 

A motion was made by Thomas L. Douglass, and 
seconded by Moses Ashworth, that the slave rule, as 
passed in November, 18 12, at the Fountain Head Con- 
ference, be considered unconstitutional. Carried. At 
this point the Tennessee Conference presented the 
strange procedure of resolving itself into a supreme 
court and deciding on the constitutionality of a law ! 
We have all along witnessed the remarkable phenom- 
enon of an Annual Conference, a local body, repre- 
senting only a part of the Church, adopting terms of 
membership in the M. E. Church ; and now we have a 
law pronounced unconstitutional by the same body that 
enacted it ! 

The slave .rule that was at this session pronounced 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 215 

unconstitutional was substantially this: That every 
preacher having charge of a circuit should, on informa- 
tion received, cite every member who should buy or 
sell a slave to the ensuing Quarterly Conference ; and 
it was made the duty of said Quarterly Conference to 
expel such member from the Church if he had bought 
or sold contrary to justice and mercy. If the person 
was acquitted, the president of the Quarterly Confer- 
ence had the right to refer the case for final adjudica- 
tion to the ensuing Annual Conference. If the mem- 
ber was expelled, he had the right of appeal also to 
the Annual Conference. This was the rule that was 
declared unconstitutional in 1816. At this -session a 
committee consisting of Peter Cartwright, John Mc- 
Gee, Thomas L. Douglass, James Dixon, and Claiborne 
Duvall was appointed to draft a rule relative to buy- 
ing and selling slaves. The report was presented and 
adopted, and it was as follows : 

Whereas the General Conference of the Methodist Episco- 
pal Church has given authority to each Annual Conference to 
form its own regulations as to buying and selling slaves, also 
as to the admission of persons to official stations in our 
Church, this Conference has judged it necessary to express 
its sentiments on that subject. We most sincerely believe, 
and declare it as our opinion, that slavery is a moral evil. 
But as the laws of our country do not admit of emancipa- 
tion without a special act of the Legislature, in some places, 
nor admit of a slave so liberated to enjoy freedom, we can- 
not adopt any rule by which we can compel our members to 
liberate their slaves; and as the nature of cases in buying 
or selling is various and complex, we do not think it pos- 
sible to devise any rule sufficiently specific to meet them. But 
to go as far as we can, consistently with the laws of our 
country and the nature of things, to do away with the evil 
and remove the curse from the Church of God, it is the 


resolution of this Conference that the following regulations 
be adopted : 

i. If any member of our Society shall buy or sell a slave 
or slaves in order to make gain, or to sell to any person who 
buys to sell again for that purpose, such a member shall be 
called to an account as the Discipline directs, and expelled 
from our Church*; nevertheless, the above rule does not 
affect any persons in our Society who shall make it appear 
that they have bought or sold to keep man and wife, parents 
and children, together. 

2. No person, traveling or local, shall be eligible to the 
office of deacon in our Church, unless he assures us senti- 
mentally, in person or by letter, that he disapproves of slav- 
ery, and declares his willingness and intention to execute, 
wherever it is practicable, a legal emancipation of such slave 
or slaves, conformably to the laws of the State in which he 

The report was adopted, and ordered to be copied 
into the stewards' book of each circuit. There, if cop- 
ied, it lay as a dead letter in most cases, but in too 
many cases as a disturbing element and as an excuse 
on the part of certain rigid disciplinarians for harass- 
ing men and women, who, if living in the days of 
Christ and his apostles, would have been recognized 
as brethren and sisters beloved. 

The assumption in the rule just quoted that slavery 
is a moral evil — that is to say, as I understand it, a 
sin per se — was a broad and unwarrantable assump- 
tion, and it led the Conference into the absurd action 
of making a moral question subordinate to expediency. 
The moral evil, the sin, was to be tolerated in the 
Church if the laws of the country demanded it. The 
Legislature, not God, had the authority to establish 
the gauge of right. It is evident, however, that the 
questions propounded in the Conference, and answered 

FROM 1813TO l8l6, 217 

as they were, were intended to show that the rule 
hitherto in force was too rigorous, and to pave the way 
for the adoption of a milder measure. The rule 
adopted at this Conference was quite a modification of 
the former rule, and one which better suited conditions 
in the South. 


From 1813 to 1816 (Continued). Sketches of 


The Tennessee Conference (1815) chose delegates 
to the General Conference to meet in Baltimore May 
1, 1816, and the choice fell on Peter Cartwright, Sam- 
uel Sellers, James Axley, John Henninger, Samuel H. 
Thompson, James Dixon, James Gwin, and Thomas H. 
Douglass. James Gwin having notified the Confer- 
ence that he might not be able to attend, John John- 
son was elected as his alternate. The printed journal 
of the General Conference shows that the following 
delegates from the Tennessee Conference were pres- 
ent at the opening of the session: Peter Cartwright, 
Samuel Sellers, James Axley, Jesse Walker, Thomas 
L. Douglass, and James Smith. The name of James 
Smith was not on the roll of the Tennessee Confer- 
ence in 181 5, and no such person could have been 
elected a delegate. It is therefore probable that 
Smith in this case is either a clerical or a typograph- 
ical error for Gwin ; for, as Johnson was not present, 
it is more than likely that Gwin was in his own seat. 
The minutes of the Tennessee Conference do not show 
that Jesse Walker was elected a delegate ; and it is 
therefore likely that he was elected a reserve, though 
the Tennessee records failed to show the fact. He 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 219 

probably took the place of one of the absentees — Dix- 
on, Thompson, or Henninger. 1 

At this General Conference the Tennessee Confer- 
ence was divided, and the Missouri and the Missis- 
sippi Conferences were set off. In the fixing of 
boundary lines and the division of laborers, over fifty 
preachers remained in the Tennessee Conference, and 
about thirty were set off to the two new Conferences. 

On May 14 the General Conference strengthened 
the episcopacy then resting upon the shoulders of a 
single man, William McKendree, by electing to that 
responsible office Enoch George and Robert Richford 
Roberts. Of these I shall speak in future chapters. 

The Tennessee Conference met at Franklin, Tenn., 
October 23, 1816, Bishop McKendree presiding. 
Thomas L. Douglass was elected secretary. The Hol- 
ston work was divided into two districts, Holston and 
French Broad. 

Numbers in Society were reported as follows: 

Whites. Colored. 

Abingdon 450 30 

Nollichucky 636 35 

French Broad 485 38 

Tennessee Valley 590 48 

Clinch 400 13 

Carter's Valley 342 21 

Powell's Valley 433 16 

Knoxville 438 38 

Holston 553 39 

Lee 276 29 

Tazewell 424 • 44 

Total 5,027 351 

Grand total, 5,378; a decrease of 19. 


History of Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II, p. 399- 


The following were admitted on trial: Ebenezer 
Hearn, Thomas Stringfield, James Fares, Benjamin 
King, Clinton Tucker, Timothy Carpenter, Benjamin 
Ogden, William Allison, William Ashley, William 
Manson, Benjamin Peeples. 

The Holston appointments were as follows : 

Rolston District, Jesse Cunnynghain, presiding elder. 

Abingdon, John Bowman, William Ashley. 

Clinch, George Ekin. 

Carter's Valley, William Manson. 

Holston, Nathan Barnes, John Dew. 

Lee, Benjamin Edge. 

Tazewell, Isaac Qninn. 

French Broad District, John Henninger, presiding elder. 

Nollichucky, Josiah Daughtry. 

Little River, William Hart, Benjamin Peeples. 

Knoxville, Nicholas Norwood. 

Powell's Valley, John Hutchinson. 

Tennessee Valley, Hugh McPhail, John Seaton. 

Bishop Asbury died early in the year. In the Gen- 
eral Minutes for 1816 his name appears in the an- 
swer to the question, "Who have died this year?" and 
a handsome memorial notice is given of him. In the 
preceding pages he has been by far the most con- 
spicuous personage to whom reference has been made. 
His name occurs again and again. Indeed, so inti- 
mately was he associated with Holston Methodism that 
its history might almost be pronounced the "Life and 
Times of Asbury." 

The great Asbury. however, was only a man ; he 
had human infirmities, physical, intellectual, and mor- 
al. Physically he was a lifelong invalid, and many a 
man in his state of health would have excused him- 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 221 

self altogether from hard work, and would have 
sought a sinecure. His mental powers were not pro- 
digious, but well-balanced and symmetrical. He was 
eminently characterized by common sense, really the 
most uncommon of all kinds of sense ; and his judg- 
ment on all subjects of which he was supposed to 
have any knowledge was usually correct. His 
knowledge of human nature was great ; he had the 
gift of the "discerning of spirits" in an eminent de- 
gree, and he seldom laid his episcopal hands on the 
wrong man. Yet in this respect he was not infallible ; 
and his devotion to law and order, to system and reg- 
ularity, to authority and obedience, did, perhaps, ren- 
der it impossible for him to appreciate at his worth 
that wonderful man, Lorenzo Dow, who, though not 
as well-balanced, was scarcely inferior to him in tal- 
ent, and surely equal to him in faith, zeal, and energy. 
No man who follows the history of the good Bishop 
can fail to be struck with his incorruptible honesty 
and total unselfishness. That he was somewhat puri- 
tanic in his religion will be admitted. He was, as Car- 
lyle said of Rousseau, "a narrow, intense man;" but 
he was narrow because he was intense. He had an 
unquestioning faith in the Bible as the word of God; 
he questioned neither its history nor its theology. It 
was his vade mecum — the man of his counsel. His 
sermons were eminently scriptural and evangelical. 
Christ crucified was the distinctive burden of his 
preaching. If the gospel is true, he was one of the 
wisest men of the ages; if false, he was one of the 
most deluded of men, and one of the most happy in 
his delusion. His faith in God, in Christ, and in the 
word of God was the chief source of his extraordinary 


power as a preacher. He literally preached with the 
Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. 

As a bishop, he may have seemed to some to 
be arbitrary. Methodist government under Wesley 
was patriarchal. Having, under God, created Meth- 
odism, he claimed the right to govern it; and he 
did, in a great measure, govern it while he lived; but 
he did not regard this right as hereditary, and he 
provided for a distribution of power at his death. As- 
bury was educated in Wesley's ideas and methods. 
He was placed at the head of American Methodism 
when it was weak in numbers and deficient in cul- 
ture, wealth, and prestige. He could have been an 
autocrat, but he cheerfully laid down all power which 
he did not believe was necessary in his hands for the 
efficiency of his administration and the vigorous prose- 
cution of the work of God by his associates and subor- 
dinates. The rules adopted by the Christmas Confer- 
ence of 1784 were a vast departure, in the direction 
of true democracy, from the patriarchal regime of 
Wesley. It can be safely asserted that Asbury only 
insisted upon his prerogatives that he might the more 
successfully glorify God and save souls, and not that 
he might exalt himself and crush his rivals and oppo- 
nents. Methodism in Asbury's day needed the vigor 
of a military system ; and no military organization, 
either actual or quasi, ever had a more honest or more 
capable head. 

Francis Asbury was born in Staffordshire, England, 
August 20, 1745. His parents were people in com- 
mon life, remarkable for their honesty and industry, 
and they had all the ordinary comforts of life. From 
childhood Francis never dared to utter an oath or tell 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 223 

a lie. His notice in the "General Minutes" says : "The 
love of truth is not natural, but the habit of telling it 
he acquired very early." This, to us of the present 
day, very strange sentiment was evidently based upon 
the extreme views of total depravity which prevailed 
in the early days of Methodism. The human race is, 
no doubt, more or less degenerate, and men come into 
the world with natures more or less disordered and 
inclined to sin. But the love of truth is congenital ; 
and children usually tell the truth, without powerful 
motives to the contrary, and without the corrupting 
influence of false education and evil example. He ab- 
horred mischief and wickedness, although some of 
his playmates were the vilest * of the vile. He was 
sometimes ridiculed and called a Methodist. He was 
converted before the age of fourteen, and now it was 
easy and pleasant to forsake his evil companions, and 
he began to pray morning and evening. The fact 
that his strict life had caused him to be branded with 
the title "Methodist" led him to inquire of his mother 
who and where the Methodists were. She gave him a 
favorable account of them, and he went to Wednes- 
bury to hear them. Says Asbury: "The people ap- 
peared very devout, men and women kneeling, saying 
amen. Now, behold ! they were singing hymns. 
Sweet sound ! Why ? Strange to tell ! the preacher 
had no prayer book, and yet he prayed wonderfully ! 
What was yet more extraordinary, the man took his 
text and had no sermon book. Thought I : This is 
wonderful indeed! 'Tis certainly a strange way, but 
it is the best way.' The preacher talked about con- 
fidence, assurance, etc., of which all my flights and 
hopes fell short." After this Asbury began to hold 


meetings at his father's house, and some were con- 
verted through his instrumentality. He occasionally 
met classes and held class meetings. He preached 
frequently and without license except from above. 
The people were amazed at his gifts and success as a 
lay preacher. He was between the ages of twenty- 
one and twenty-two when he gave himself wholly to 
the work of the ministry. He landed in Philadelphia 
October 27, 1771. On Tuesday, November 13, he 
preached his first sermon in New York. Until 1784 
he held his authority from Mr. Wesley. At the 
Christmas Conference of that year he was unanimous- 
ly elected and ordained General Superintendent of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. He labored in England 
as a local and traveling preacher about ten years ; in 
America he labored as a traveling preacher over forty- 
four years, nearly thirty-two of which were spent in 
the General Superintendency. 

His constitution was naturally delicate. For many 
years he was much afflicted with asthma, and he often 
suffered from those diseases incident to the sections 
where he labored — fevers and agues, bilious fevers, etc. 
The approximate cause of his death was an influenza 
caught in South Carolina about Christmas in 181 5. 
It resulted in pulmonary consumption. On his way 
toward Baltimore, where he hoped to be present at 
the General Conference which was to meet there in 
May, he reached Richmond, Va., and preached his 
last sermon in that city Sunday, March 24. He was 
carried from his carriage to the pulpit and placed on 
a table. He spoke nearly an hour from Romans ix. 
28, with much feeling and effect, pausing at intervals 
to recover breath. In a few davs he reached the house 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 225 

of his old friend, Mr. George Arnold, in Spottsylvania 
County, some twenty miles from Fredericksburg. 
Overhearing Brother Bond and the family talking of 
making a preaching appointment for him, he observed 
that they needed not to be in a hurry. A remark so 
unusual gave Brother Bond much uneasiness. After 
spending a bad night, he desired that the family be 
called together, and Brother Bond sang, prayed, and 
expounded the word of God. As his feet went down 
into the cold Jordan, he summoned all his remaining 
strength and raised both hands in token of triumph. 
He died without a struggle March. 31, 1816, in the 
seventy-first year of his age. 

The remains of Bishop Asbury were deposited in 
the family burying ground of Mr. Arnold ; but after- 
wards, by order of the General Conference, they were 
taken up and transferred to Mt. Olivet Cemetery, 
Baltimore, where they now rest. The gray granite 
slab which once served as a covering to his grave has 
been fitted into the rear wall of the Eutah Street 
Church, and it bears his epitaph. 1 

The year 18 16 and a few succeeding years were 
characterized by a great stringency in money matters, 
and a consequent stagnation in all departments of in- 
dustry. This stringency brought many hardships and 
discomforts to the mass of the people, but especially 
affected the comfort of the preachers. Hard times 
always superinduce retrenchment in the matter of ex- 
penditures; and, like every other judgment, it begins 
at the house of God. In the mind of the average 
Methodist, gifts to the Church lie somewhere between 

'"General Minutes," Vol. I., pp. 272-274. 


FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 227 

a debt and a charity ; and in the process of retrench- 
ment objects of charity suffer first, then the Church, 
lastly the creditor. These years of stringency, there- 
fore, entailed great discomforts upon the preachers. 
They were usually without money, shabbily clad, and 
subjected to great inconveniences and embarrass- 
ments. The Methodists had adopted the voluntary 
system of the support of the gospel, and the preachers 
often realized that voluntary support meant involun- 
tary starvation. Unfortunately, Methodist preachers 
were wont in those days to contrast a system in which 
they had "souls for their hire" with the mercenary 
ministry of other denominations — the perpendicular 
with the horizontal call — until many a narrow and 
miserly Methodist actually thought that quarterage 
meant a quarter of a dollar a quarter ; and at the close 
of an unctuous sermon from a wayworn, half-clad 
prophet of the Lord could sing with sweet emotion 
and sublime faith : "The Lord will provide, and I 
hope to die shouting, the Lord will provide." But in 
those days of business stagnation even the most lib- 
eral and enterprising charges found it next to impos- 
sible to render their pastors comfortable. The preach- 
ers, however, were men of convictions ; they believed 
the gospel they preached ; and expediency dwindled 
to nothing before the awful and yet glorious dispensa- 
tion of the gospel which had been committed to them. 

John Travis was admitted into the Western Con- 
ference in 1806, located in 18 14, and died November 
II, 1852. During the eight years of his connection 
with the Conference he traveled extensively in Mis- 
souri, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky. He 
was appointed to Holston Circuit in 1813, and la- 


bored in the Holston country only one year. He was 
born in South Carolina November 3, 1773. In early 
manhood he emigrated to Crittenden County, Ky. 
After his conversion, he felt called to preach ; and 
though apprised of the hardships of early frontier 
itinerancy, he cast in his lot with that self-sacrificing 
band of faithful ministers who composed the old 
Western Conference. His first appointment was to 
Missouri Circuit, the germ of the mighty Methodism 
that now occupies the great State of Missouri. At 
the time of his appointment only two years had elapsed 
since the erection of Missouri into a territorial gov- 
ernment. Travis was the first to carry the message 
of salvation to the people of that Territory. At the 
time of his entrance upon this work there were only 
about sixteen thousand persons in the Territory, in- 
cluding the Indians, only a part of whom were civ- 
ilized. The tide of emigration from Kentucky and 
North Carolina, however, was setting in, and the 
population was rapidly increasing. To this scattered 
population Travis broke the bread of life. At the 
close of the year he reported two circuits. His loca- 
tion was caused by the failure of his health. He spent 
the remainder of his life in the practice of medicine. 
His last illness was brief. As long as he was able to 
speak, he gave assurance to his friends that the reli- 
gion which he had so long recommended to others 
was able to comfort him in his last hours. 1 

Selah Paine was admitted into the Baltimore Con- 
ference in 1807, and immediately transferred to the 
Western Conference. He located in 1815. After la- 

1 "Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. II., pp. 102-105. 

PROM 1813 TO 1816. 229 

boring four years in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, he 
was transferred to the Mississippi District, where he 
traveled successively Natchez and Wilkinson Circuits, 
and was then transferred to the Holston District. 
His Holston appointments were as follows: 1812, Hol- 
ston; 1813, Nollichucky; 1814, Abingdon. In 1813 
he was put in charge of Nollichucky Circuit and on 
the supernumerary list at the same time ; and because 
of his not being assigned to full work, Nicholas Nor- 
wood was associated with him. The Hon. William 
Garrett recollected Mr. Paine. He located and left 
the country from the residence of the Rev. William 
Garrett, in East Tennessee, for Wilkesbarre, Pa., from 
which place he corresponded with Mr. Garrett, and 
where he married. He had a fine person, rather 
bulky, black hair and eyes, a high-toned, determined 
bearing, dressed well, and rode a fine horse. 1 

Richard Richards was admitted into the Western 
Conference in 1808, and located in 1814. He labored 
his first two years in Kentucky. In 18 10 he was ap- 
pointed to Carter's Valley Circuit; he then spent a 
year in Kentucky and one in Indiana, and returned 
to Holston, having been appointed in charge of Knox- 
ville Circuit in 1813. This was his last pastoral 
charge. Richards was a man of strong and well-cul- 
tivated mind, and was in his last days popular and use- 
ful. But strong drink was his ruin. For many years 
he was out of the Church. Dr. David R. McAnally 
was his pastor during the closing months of his life. 
He had returned to the Church, wrecked in health, 

'"History of Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., pp. 505, 


fortune, and reputation, and with bitter tears of re- 
pentance and keen pangs of remorse he sought the 
restoration of the divine favor, and died casting him- 
self on the mercy of the Friend of sinners. 1 

Richards was, no doubt, a good man when he en- 
tered the ministry; but his case suggests a few ob- 
servations: First, it is a practical demonstration of 
the possibility and danger of apostasy; the possibility 
of sin is, at least in this life, essential to free agency 
and moral accountability, and, therefore, to holiness, 
which, in its very nature, is always voluntary in a 
finite creature ; the fall of a good man, instead of dis- 
crediting the genuineness of the Christian religion, 
only establishes it, since the possibility of apostasy 
is an essential part of its creed. Secondly, it illus- 
trates the danger of departing from the regular work 
of the ministry and engaging in secular pursuits, 
from the love of money or of worldly ease and gran- 
deur, or from a loss of zeal in the work of saving souls. 
The shores of time are strewn with the debris of the 
wrecked fortunes and good names of preachers who 
have left the work to which they were called by the 
Holy Ghost and engaged in secular pursuits. The 
temporal as well as the spiritual welfare of the preach- 
er demands that he stick to his God-appointed work. 
Thirdly, the case shows the danger of tampering with 
ardent spirits either as a medicine or as a beverage. 
A drinking preacher is in more spiritual danger than 
a drinking layman, because such conduct in him is a 
greater inconsistency, because the aggravated sin of 
this greater inconsistency tends to drive him to des- 

'McAnally's "Life of S. Patton," p. 145. 

FROM 1813 TO l8 16. 23I 

peration, and because he has a greater height to fall 
from. If Paul abstained from wine offered to idols 
for the good of others, how much more should min- 
isters abstain from strong drink for their own good 
as well as for the good of others! Fourthly, there is 
no sound logic or -.philosophy in losing confidence in 
the Church and ministry, as a whole, on account of the 
defection of a few men in them. It is unwise to 
generalize on an .insufficient number of facts. "One 
swallow does not make a summer;" and "exceptions 
do not disprove the rule," but rather establish it. 
Fifthly, when a man falls, he should not surrender to 
despair. The race fell, and has risen in Christ; the 
Jews fell, and prophecy tells us that they will rise 
again; Peter fell, but rose again; if Judas, after re- 
turning the money to the chief priests, had returned 
himself to Christ, he would, doubtless, have been for-, 
given and saved. The penitential tears of the fallen 
Richards were jewels in the sight of God and angels, 
and penitence and faith doubtless brought him again 
under the broad wings of the cherubim. 

Nicholas Talley was admitted into the South Car- 
olina Conference in 181 1. He was stationed on Bun- 
combe Circuit in the spring of 1814, and remained 
on the circuit about six months — long enough to bring 
him into our historv. His stations indicate that he 
was a considerable preacher; he filled some of the 
most important ones in South Carolina, Georgia, and 
North Carolina. He 'was born near Richmond, Va., 
May 2, 1791 ; converted at Burke's Camp Ground, in 
Green County, Ga., August 5, 1810. He was super- 
annuated in 1865, and sustained that relation to the 
day of his death, which occurred at his home, in Co- 


luffibia, S. C, May 10, 1873. He belonged to the 
heroic age of Methodism; he set his face as flint 
against everything that would impair his usefulness 
as a preacher. In his manner he was self-possessed, 
dignified, and refined. His preaching was mainly hor- 
tatory, and often powerful in its effects. His last 
entry in his diary was made May 2, 1873, as follows: 
"My birthday ; eighty-two years I have lived on the 
bounty and goodness of God. I feel grateful and 
happy to believe all things well." His last uttered 
words were: "Calm, calm." 1 

Dr. George G. Smith says of Talley: "He was a 
very useful and solid man. The Church was always 
built up wherever he went. He lived in Columbia, S. 
C, for many years, and was much beloved. He was 
an elegant old gentleman, full of grace and courtesy." 2 

Thomas Nixon was admitted into the Tennessee 
Conference in 1812, and expelled from the Church 
by the Mississippi Conference in 1822, restored in 
1832, and located in 1836. He preached in Kentucky. 
Illinois, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. In 
18 14 he was appointed to Lee Circuit in Holston, and 
at the end of the year he was transferred to Missis- 
sippi. In the division of 1816 he fell into the Missis- 
sippi Conference. After his expulsion we lose sight 
of him till 1832. Having been restored at that time, 
he traveled four years and located. 

In regard to the cloud that passed over Mr. Nixon, 
Dr. Anson West says : 

In the Mississippi Conference for 1821 there appeared a 
new district. It was the Catawba District, and extended from 

J Shipp's "Methodism in South Carolina," pp. 641, 642. 
Methodism in Georgia and Florida," p. 173. 


FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 233 

the head waters of Mulberry Creek, on the south, to the Ten- 
nessee River, on the north, and was constituted of the Cataw- 
ba, Franklin, Marion, and Tuscaloosa Circuits. . . . For 
this year Thomas Nixon was presiding elder of the new dis- 
trict, and he was also the preacher in charge of the Catawba 
Circuit. This was the second and last year of Nixon's min- 
istry in Alabama. . . . While on Catawba District and 
Circuit, Nixon fell under some evil occurrence, in which he 
was finally, after due process, expelled from the connection. 1 

Dr. West does not name the nature of the charges 
against Mr. Xixon, and I have no means at hand by 
which to determine them. 

Jones, in "Methodism in .Mississippi," says: 'Tie 
proved to be a valuable acquisition to Mississippi 
Methodism." 2 

Dr. McFerrin, speaking of Mr. Xixon while living, 
says: "Mr. Nixon is a fine specimen of human nature, 
tall, robust, and very active in bod)- and mind, for 
one of his age. He remains one of the connecting 
links between the preachers of the present day and 
the olden times." 3 

John Menefee was admitted into the Tennessee 
Conference in 1813, and located, while a member of 
the Mississippi Conference, in 1820. Menefee en- 
tered the Conference from Knoxville Circuit. Fie be- 
longed to a large and influential East Tennessee fam- 
ily, many of whom emigrated to Texas, and were sub- 
stantial Methodists. Menefee's social and education- 
al opportunities had been good, and with those natural 
gifts which have sometimes sprung from good blood, 

"Methodism in Alabama," pp. 139, 140. 
""Methodism in Mississippi," Vol. I., p. 394. 
8 "Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., p. 205. 


and from the pure air and grand scenery of East 

Tennessee, he was a young man of unusual promise. 

In 1813 he was appointed to Powell's Valley Circuit; 

in 1814, to Tennessee Valley; in 1815, to Pearl River; 

in 1816, to Natchez and Claiborne, in Mississippi; in 

1 81 8 he was made presiding elder of the Louisiana 

District, and stationed on Attakapas Circuit; in 1819 

he was sent as a missionary to New Orleans. This 

was his last work. He died of yellow fever in New 

Orleans October 10, 1824. He was buried in one of 

the old cemeteries of the city. Not long before his 

death he was married to a daughter of the Hon. Seth 

Lewis. Mr. Menefee's widow afterwards married 

Mr. Thompson, a wealthy merchant of New Orleans, 

a noble Christian gentleman, while his wife was a 

model Christian lady. 1 

Jones says: 

Our personal recollections of Mr. Menefee are very favor- 
able. He was somewhat over medium size, symmetrically 
proportioned and well-developed, had a fair conplexion and 
ruddy face, with a countenance beaming with unusual benev- 
olence. In his dress and manners he had the polish of a 
refined gentleman, and seemed to be better educated than 
most of his young contemporaries in the ministry. There 
was nothing eccentric about him; he was neither dogmatical 
nor boisterous in preaching, but was a remarkably warm- 
hearted and clear-headed preacher. His voice was very dis- 
tinct and his ' manner of address earnest and affectionate. 
. . . He was one of those brilliant and promising young 
ministers who are doomed to an early grave. 2 

In a letter dated Camp Hamilton, October 31, 1824, 
addressed to Rev. William McMahon, Mr. Thomas 

^'Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., pp. 322, 323. 
2 "Methodism in Mississippi," Vol. I., p. 394. 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 235 

H. Lewis, brother-in-law to Mr. Menefee, says : "He 
was a tender parent, an affectionate husband, a good 
neighbor, a true friend, and a faithful minister. His 
philanthropy extended to the whole human race, and 
his benevolence, by far, exceeded his means. He was 
loved and reverenced by all who knew him." 

Daniel Asbury was admitted into the traveling con- 
nection in 1786. He traveled in the Holston country 
proper only one year, the year that he was on the 
French Broad Circuit (1788-89) ; but he was for three 
years presiding elder of Swannanoa District, embra- 
cing territory which subsequently fell into the Holston 
Conference. He was born in Fairfax County, Va., Feb- 
ruary 18, 1762. At the age of twelve he became great- 
ly concerned about his spiritual welfare; but as his 
parents differed in their religious views, his religious 
education was neglected. He was made a captive by 
a band of Shawnees in 1778, he being at that time in 
Kentucky, and was carried north of the Ohio River. 
The Indians adopted him, and treated him kindly. 
During the war of the Revolution they carried him 
to Canada, where he was taken prisoner by the Brit- 
ish and treated with great barbarity. He made his 
escape and reached his father's home in Virginia in 
1783. He called as a traveler, and conversed some 
time with his mother before he made himself known 
to her. When at length the revelation was made, no 
pen can describe the overwhelming tenderness of the 
scene that followed. Although he was, at first, great- 
ly opposed to the Methodists, their faithful and ear- 
nest ministrations were the means of bringing him 
to a sense of his guilt in the sight of God, and finally 
to a knowledge of sins forgiven. He joined a Meth- 


odist Society and resolved to devote himself to the 

In 1790, while on the Lincoln Circuit, in North 
Carolina, he was wedded to Miss Nancy L. Morris, 
of whom we have the following anecdote: Her moth- 
er had some time previously removed with other Meth- 
odists from the bounds of the Brunswick Circuit in 
Virginia, and they had brought their Methodist evan- 
gelical fire with them. Settled in their new home, 
they were without a preacher till the fall of 1788, 
when they were visited by a young local preacher 
from Virginia. Upon request he was permitted to 
preach in Old White Haven Church. The young 
man preached with great power, and the widow Mor- 
ris indulged in a shout on the occasion. The old 
German ladies pressed their way to Miss Morris, the 
widow's daughter, and exclaimed in the utmost fright : 
"Your mother has a fit, indeed she has, and is going 
to die!" The daughter calmly replied: "My mother 
is quite addicted to such fits; she will soon recover." 
It is hardly worth while to remark at this point that 
one of the essential qualifications of a Methodist 
preacher's wife in those days was a sufficient knowl- 
edge of experimental religion and its power not to be 
alarmed at the shout of a king in the camp. 

Asbury was a man of limited education, but was 
a man of good parts and a close student of the Bible. 
His social qualities were fine; he had a talent for an- 
ecdote, but did not descend to frivolity. 

The bulk of his itinerant life was spent in North 
and South Carolina, and he died in the South Car- 
olina Conference. About ten years of his ministerial 
life were spent in the relation of local preacher ; he 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 237 

was superannuated in January, 1825, and on Sunday 
morning, April 15,. of that year he arose apparently 
more cheerful and vigorous than usual, conversed on 
various subjects, and noted down a text from which 
he intended to preach a funeral sermon. In a few 
moments afterwards he was walking through his 
yard when suddenly he stopped, looked up to heaven, 
and with an unearthly smile uttered a few indistinct 
words, and then fell lifeless to the ground. Dr. Shipp, 
in the "History of Methodism in South Carolina/' 
from which I have compiled most of these facts, men- 
tions the following remarkable coincidence : "It was 
on the Sabbath — a fitting time for an old pilgrim to 
enter into his Father's house above. It is somewhat 
remarkable that he was born on the Sabbath, was 
carried off bv the Indians on the Sabbath, returned to 
his father's house on the Sabbath, was converted on 
the Sabbath, and on the Sabbath went to his eternal 
rest." 1 

In the books Daniel Asbury is represented as a little 
dapper, bald-headed man, whose loss of teeth impeded 
pronunciation, with a face thin and furrowed, but its 
expression always kindly, with eyes indicative of hu- 
mor. He had an intellect above the common order, 
but his opportunities for early culture were limited. 
He states himself that when he was a boy he "never 
heard of a grammar book." Yet he was well up in 
the knowledge of the Bible and its doctrines, with oth- 
er theological writings, so that his preaching and so- 
cial intercourse were by no means unacceptable to per- 

'Shipp's "History of Methodism in South Carolina," pp. 


sons of cultivated minds. He preached with so much 
sterling sense, and with such earnestness and sim- 
plicity, that he could not be otherwise than an effect- 
ive preacher. His early training peculiarly adapted 
him to the hardships of pioneer itinerant life. He 
was made captive by the Indians when a boy, carried 
west, then into Canada, where he became a prisoner to 
the British. Returning home after five years' absence, 
he was pretty well prepared, after his conversion, to 
endure the hardships of an itinerant's life, one of 
which was the being dragged before a magistrate for 
preaching the gospel. The count in the indictment 
was: "Going about the country preaching!" The in- 
quiry of the judge was: "Does he make the people any 
worse than they were before?" The reply was: "We 
do not know that he does." The conclusion of his 
honor was: "If he does not make them worse, the 
presumption is that he makes them better, and so the 
case is dismissed." His rough fare in the mountains 
of Holston was endurable through his Indian ex- 
periences. His diet was of the homeliest' sort — "often 
solely cucumbers on a piece of cold bread, with no 
milk or coffee." He fared better when he could get 
a piece of fried bacon and corn bread ; but examine his 
bedstead, will you? Not French by any means, but 
Indian! — namely, clapboards laid on poles, supported 
by rude forks driven into the earthen floor. Being 
sixteen years on districts, twelve on circuits, one rest- 
ing, and ten local, making thirty-nine in all, he is an 
instance of one cast up by the storms of the itinerancy 
on the shores of locality, but rescued and doing good 
service for nearly a quarter of a century afterwards. 
Asbury's family was on a farm, while he was always 

FROM 1813 TO l8l6. 239 

on the wing. By the labor of his wife and children the 
gaunt wolf was kept from the door. But money 
pressure never slackened his labors; he kept at them 
till the infirmities of age compelled retirement. He 
was superannuated but a month or two before the 
death warrant became his final discharge from the 
Church militant. He died at the age of sixty-three. 1 

1 Rev. A. M. Chreitzberg, in a newspaper article. 


From 1816 to 1819. — Sketches of Preachers. 

The Tennessee Conference met at Franklin, Tenn., 
October 30, 1817. No bishop being present at the 
opening of the session, Peter Cartwright was tempo- 
rarily called to the chair, and after religious services 
the Conference proceeded to elect a President, when 
Thomas L. Douglass was elected and took the chair. 
Before the afternoon session Bishop Roberts ap- 
peared and took the chair, and presided to the close of 
the Conference, which did not adjourn till Saturday, 
November 8. The question which prolonged the ses- 
sion was the hobby of slavery. A committee was ap- 
pointed to investigate the question, and their report 
was presented, discussed, and adopted as follows : 

Whereas the General Conference of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church has given authority to each Annual Conference 
to form its own regulations relative to buying and selling 
slaves, it is the resolution of this Conference that the follow- 
ing regulations he adopted : 

1. If a local elder, deacon, or preacher in our Church shall 
purchase a slave or slaves, he shall lay his case before the 
Quarterly-meeting Conference of his circuit as soon as prac- 
ticable, which Quarterly-meeting Conference shall say how 
long such slave or slaves shall serve as a remuneration to 
the purchaser; and on the decision of the Quarterly-meeting 
Conference, touching the time the slave or slaves shall serve, 
the purchaser shall, without delay, enter into a written obliga- 
tion to the Quarterly-meeting Conference to emancipate such 

FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 241 

slave or slaves at the expiration of the term of servitude, if 
the law of the State will admit; and such obligation shall be 
entered on the journals of the Quarterly-meeting Conference. 
But should the laws of the State continue rigidly to oppose 
the emancipation of slaves, so that their freedom, as above 
contemplated, should prove impracticable, during the term 
and at the end of the slave's or slaves' servitude, as deter- 
mined by the Quarterly-meeting Conference, he, the said 
elder, deacon, or preacher, shall, at the end of the time of 
servitude, again lay his case before the Quarterly-meeting 
Conference, which Quarterly-meeting Conference shall deter- 
mine it according to the then existing slave rule of the Annual 
Conference to which he belongs ; and should the said elder, 
deacon, or preacher be dissatisfied with the decision of the 
Quarterly-meeting Conference, he shall be allowed an appeal 
to the ensuing Annual Conference provided he then signifies 
his intention of so appealing. 

2. If a private member in our Society buy a slave or slaves, 
the preacher who has charge of the circuit shall summon a 
committee, of which he shall be president, of at least three 
disinterested male members from the class of which he or 
she is a member; and if a committee cannot be selected from 
the class to which the slave-purchaser belongs, in such case 
the preacher may make up the committee from a neighboring 
class or classes, which committee shall determine the length 
of time such slave or slaves shall serve as a compensation to 
the purchaser, and immediately on the .determination of the 
committee, touching the slave's or slaves' time of servitude, he 
or she, the purchaser, shall bind himself or herself in a written 
obligation to the Church to have the emancipation of such 
slave or slaves, at the expiration of the given time, recorded 
as soon as practicable, if the laws of the State in which he or 
she lives will admit of emancipation; and such obligation 
shall be filed among the papers of the Quarterly-meeting Con- 
ference of the circuit in which he or she lives. But should 
the law of the State in which the purchaser lives render it 
impracticable to emancipate said slave or slaves during the 
time of servitude fixed by the committee for said slave or 
slaves, the preacher having charge of the circuit or station 


shall call a second committee at the end of the time of servi- 
tude, who shall determine the case according to the then 
existing slave rule of the Annual Conference to which he or 
she belongs; and if he or she feel himself or herself aggrieved, 
he or she shall be allowed an appeal to the ensuing Quar- 
terly-meeting Conference of his or her circuit. In all cases 
relative either to preacher or private members, the colored 
or bond-children born of slaves purchased, after their pur- 
chase and during the time of their bondage, male and female, 
shall be free at the age of twenty-five, if the law admit of 
emancipation ; and if not, the case of those born of purchased 
slaves in bondage to said elder, deacon, or preacher shall be 
cognizable by the Quarterly-meeting Conference, and in the 
case of those born of purchased slaves in bondage to private 
members shall be cognizable by a committee of the above- 
mentioned kind, which Quarterly-meeting Conference and 
committee shall decide in such cases as the then existing 
slave rule shall or may direct; provided, nevertheless, the 
above rules be not so construed as to oblige an elder, deacon, 
preacher, or private member to give security for the good 
behavior or maintenance of the slave or slaves emancipated, 
should the court require it. If an elder, deacon, preacher, or 
private member among us shall sell a slave or slaves into 
perpetual bondage, he shall thereby forfeit membership 
in- our Church. Therefore, in case an elder, deacon, or 
preacher sell a slave or slaves, he shall first submit the case 
to the Quarterly-meeting Conference of which he is a mem- 
ber, and said Quarterly-meeting Conference shall say for 
what term of years he shaH sell his slave or slaves, which 
term being fixed, the seller shall immediately record his, her, 
or their emancipation in the County Court; and a private 
member selling a slave or slaves shall first acquaint the 
preacher having charge of the circuit with his design, who 
shall summon a committee of the above-mentioned kind, of 
which he, the said preacher, shall be president Said com- 
mittee shall say for what term of years he, she, or they 
shall sell his, her, or their slave or slaves, and the seller 
shall be required immediately to record the emancipation of 
such slave or slaves in the County Court An elder, deacon, 

FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 243 

preacher, or private member among us refusing to comply 
with the above vrules shall be dealt with as in other cases of 
immorality and expelled. Lastly, 

Resolved, That all rules and regulations heretofore made 
in the Tennessee Annual Conference be, and the same are 
hereby, repealed. The above rule shall be enforced from and 
after the first day of January, 1818. 

It is observable that the repeal of all previous rules 
on slavery was a confession of their failure; that the 
rule now adopted, as well as that adopted at the last 
session, considered the principles of justice and mercy 
not only as applicable to the slave but also as applica- 
ble to the master ; that the provisos practically nullified 
much of the ordinance ; and that if the rule had been 
enacted without these provisos and rigidly enforced it 
would have torn the Church to shreds in the Tennes- 
see Conference. It was impossible for preachers and 
members in the, bounds of the Conference to liberate 
their slaves under such conditions as to allow them 
to enjoy their freedom in the States where they were 
liberated. The clause, however, making it an immo- 
rality to sell a slave into perpetual bondage was not 
hampered by a proviso, and furnished ground for an 
occasional indictment and expulsion. Local preachers 
and members were occasionally expelled from the 
Church. Many thus expelled never returned to its' 
bosom, and a deep-seated resentment among their 
friends resulted in a settled alienation from it. The 
rule, however, aroused the abolition element of the 
Church, excited a moral influence against the insti- 
tution of slavery, and at the same time rendered com- 
paratively immune the large and growing body of 
slaveholders then in the Church, 


The above rule has been introduced in full into 
these pages because it was a law under which the 
Church operated in Holston and that more or less af- 
fected the peace and prosperity of the Church in our 
bounds. It drew to us the poorer classes of the people, 
and drove from us into the Episcopal, Presbyterian, 
and other Churches large connections of wealthy and 
influential people. 

We cannot doubt the honesty of the preachers who 
took this action; but they were taking trouble where 
Christ and his apostles took none ; they were not only 
amending their own rules, but they were amending 
the New Testament ; they were attempting to control 
the uncontrollable. The fact that the General Confer- 
ence allowed each Annual Conference to adopt its own 
regulations on the question of slavery showed that 
slaveholding was no longer to be treated as a sin per 
se, but as a question of expediency. For moral law is 
not local and sporadic : whatever is sinful is essentially 
sinful, and a sin is a sin everywhere and under all 
conditions. These resolutions as much as say that if 
the civil laws allowed emancipation slavery was a mor- 
al wrong, but that if they did not allow it slavery was 
innocent; in other words, that the Christian's first 
' allegiance is to the law of the land, and his second to 
the law of God. Such were the absurdities involved 
in the attempt to adjust civil questions by ecclesiastical 

At this session the Secretary of the Conference was 
required to answer on a charge of having violated the 
slave rule. The following is the entry in the min- 

FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 245 

The character of Hardy M. Cryer was taken into consid- 
eration. The last Conference required him to promise to 
endeavor immediately to emancipate his negroes and to make 
report to this Conference. He made his report — that he had 
made endeavors and could not succeed in the attempt — and 
the Conference voted that they were satisfied with his re- 
port. Brother Cryer also stated to the Conference that since 
the last Conference he had bought a negro boy, and an 
inquiry was made whether the purchase of said boy was a 
violation of that article in our Discipline, page 184. The 
opinion of the Chair was that it was not a violation of that 
rule. His moral character passed in examination, and he 
was elected to the office of elder. 

This acquittal was under the rule adopted in 1815; 
it shows the inoperativeness of that rule, and the one 
now adopted proved afterwards to be equally inop- 
erative. The continued agitation of the "vexed ques- 
tion'' in the Quarterly, Annual, and General Confer- 
ences of the Church had a blighting influence upon 
Methodism, and finally was the occasion of the dis- 
ruption of the body — a fact that has been sorely re- 
gretted by thousands of ministers and members, 
North and South. 

In the present agitated state of the Church we need 
not be surprised at the small accession to the itinerant 
ranks made at this session. Only five men were ad- 
mitted: Thomas Stanley, George Taylor, James Wit- 
ten, John Dever, and Jesse Green. 

During the year there had been a blessed • revival 
influence throughout the Conference, and a consider- 
able ingathering of members. The net increase, how- 
ever, was not great, owing to causes just mentioned 
and to emigration to the West. 

Holston reported numbers in Society as follows : 


Holston District. 

"Whites. Colored. 

Abingdon . , 259 37 

Clinch' ". 345 39 

Carter's Valley . . 281 20 

Holston 552 43 

Lee 264 16 

Tazewell 323 36 

Ashe ioo 

• • 

Total 2,124 191 

French Broad District. 

Nollichucky 747 46 

Little River 592 58 

Knox 550 55 

Powell's Valley 432 30 

Tennessee Valley 400 42 

Total 2,811 231 

Total for districts 4,935 422 

Grand total, 5,357; a decrease of 21. 

The appointments for Holston were as follows: 

Holston District. 
Jesse Cunnyngham, presiding elder. 
Abingdon, George Ekin. 
Clinch, Edward Ashley. 
Carter's Valley, William S. Manson. 
Holston, Thomas D. Porter. 
Lee, James Witten. 
Tazewell, James Porter. 
Ashe, Jesse Green. 

French Broad District. 
John Henninger, presiding elder. 
Nollichucky, Nathan Barnes. 
Little River, Nicholas Norwood. 
Knoxville, Josiah Datightry. 
Powell's Valley, Benjamin Edge. 
Tennessee Valley, Thomas Stringfield. 

From 1816 to 1819, 247 

Stone Dam "Camp Ground was established in the 
fall of 1818, while Nathan Barnes was in charge of 
Nollichucky Circuit. In the spring of 18 18 Mrs. 
Milly Thomasson and six of her children joined the 
Methodist "Episcopal Church by letter at the Stone 
Dam Meetinghouse, some half dozen miles east of 
Greeneville. Alexander Westmoreland, an unlettered 
man, her son-in-law, was soon appointed class leader. 
John Thomasson, from whom these facts have been 
learned, was a member of the class. John Delaney, 
Thomas Stanfield and wife, and Mary and Rebecca 
Delaney constituted the entire membership till the 
Thomassons joined it. Mrs. Thomasson built a tent 
on the new camp ground and camped there four years. 
Between 1818 and 1821 Stone Dam Society increased 
from four persons to fifty. Among the converts were 
Nathaniel Stanfield, Joseph Johnson, and Barton 
Johnson. Wiley Jones, a man of deep piety, was an 
exhorter in that Society. Washington Henshaw pro- 
fessed religion, and a new class was organized near 
his homeland he was appointed class leader. He was 
full of religion, and soon made an appointment for 
class meeting. He wrote and memorized his first 
prayer, and felt assured that he could pray finely ; but 
at his first meeting he gave out his hymn and was 
joined in singing by a crowded house. He then knelt 
and attempted to repeat his prayer, but every word of 
it had escaped him. He remained in silence on his 
knees several minutes, and at last said : "Lord, have 
mercy on us. Amen.", Then he arose and said : "Broth- 
er Thomasson, I will never learn another prayer by 


heart." Mr. Henshaw was a model Christian, and 
as a useful layman he had few equals. 1 

Stone Dam Camp Ground is a place famous in the 
annals of Holston Methodism. Rev. John H. Brun- 
ner, D.D., in a letter written for this work,- says : 

My father was a tent owner at old Stone Dam Camp 
Ground, in Greene County, Term. When a boy I concluded 
one morning to count the number of camps that were occu- 
pied. The number was seventy-five that year, exclusive of 
the cook sheds, which were as numerous as the tents. At a 
fair estimate there were, on an average, a dozen lodgers to 
the tent — that is, about one thousand persons were tented on 
the ground. When the signal was given for morning prayers 
in the tents, what singing resounded through the encamp- 
ment! At times these morning devotions were a consolidated 
service under the arbor, or shed, a service led by some one 
appointed for the occasion. 

After breakfast, the trumpet again called the people to the 
arbor for preaching. Two or three sermons were heard be- 
fore the dinner hour. Sometimes there would be a sermon 
in the afternoon. In the evening there were services in the 
groves — the men worshiping in one grove, the women in 
another. Prayer, exhortation, and singing were in order 
then, and much counsel to the "mourners" and the new con- 
verts. One year three hundred converts were reported at old 
Stone Dam. Thousands of people were there. "At candle- 
lighting" the crowds would gather about the arbor. This 
hour and the "eleven o'clock service" were regarded as the 
most important on the programme for the day, or the twenty- 
four hours. 

More cordial singing and more impassioned preaching were 
never heard than on these occasions. The best in the land 
were there ; the best in the store was brought out ; the best 
that could be done was done with a will. It would be im- 
possible to impart to one unacquainted with old-time camp 
meeting scenes a correct idea thereof. I despair of doing so. 

x John Thomasson, in Holston Methodist, April 20, 1872. 

FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 249 

As soon would I attempt to portray what I saw on the 13th 
of November, 1833, when the great meteoric shower filled 
the heavens with what looked like falling stars. Such things 
must be witnessed to be understood ! 


The Tennessee Conference met in Nashville, Tenn., 
October 1, 1818. Bishops McKendree and George 
were both present. The Conference was opened by 
Bishop McKendree, and the journal was- signed by 
him. Charles Holiday was elected Secretary. This 
was the first time the then village of Nashville had 
the honor of entertaining the Conference. The vil- 
lage has grown into an important city, numbering 
near one hundred thousand inhabitants, and embody- 
ing a great deal of wealth for a town of that size, em- 
bracing a large number of churches, public schools, 
and colleges. Indeed, as a religious and educational 
center it occupies a conspicuous position in the South, 
and is sending forth its light into all parts of the 
American Union. Vanderbilt University is located 
there, the fruit of a munificent endowment by Corne- 
lius Vanderbilt, a New York millionaire. It is under 
the auspices of the M. E. Church, South; and upon 
the erection of the main building, in 1874, it at once 
took rank among the best institutions of learning in 
America. Nashville is also the seat of the Publish- 
ing House of the M. E. Church, South, a plant which 
handles a considerable amount of capital, and is do- 
ing a prodigious work in the printing and circulation 
of books and periodicals. 

The Conference was quite harmonious. The 
"vexed question" was not as vexatious as usual. The 
question was up again, but was disposed of in the fol- 
lowing resolution : "Resolved, That we receive the 


printed rule on slavery in the form of Discipline as 
full and sufficient on that subject." That rule, as I 
understand it, was among the General Rules, and pro- 
hibited the buying or selling of men, women, and 
children with an intention to enslave them. It seems 
to have been originally leveled against the slave trade 
proper, or the enslavement of free men, women, and 
children, and could not have been legitimately inter- 
preted as condemning the ownership of slaves, or traf- 
fic in them. It was interpreted by the M. E. Church, 
South, as an ordinance against the slave trade only, 
and not against slavery itself; and as the laws of the 
United States had made the slave trade piracy, and 
as the rule in our Discipline was liable to be miscon- 
strued, it was eliminated from the General Rules. 

Up to this date (1818) the Tennessee Conference 
had taken no steps for the organization of Sunday 
schools. But at this session the following plan for the 
catechetical instruction of children was adopted: 

1. It shall be the duty of each assistant preacher in charge 
to appoint a suitable person in each class of his charge to 
keep a record of the names of the children baptized in that 

2. Each assistant preacher shall appoint a suitable person 
or persons, in each class in his circuit or station, to meet and 
catechise the children of his neighborhood who have been 
baptized by us, or any others put under our care, at least 
once a month. 

3. Each assistant preacher shall meet and catechise the 
children baptized by us, with any others put under our care, 
as often as may be practicable in his circuit or station. 

The modern reader may need to be informed as to 
what is meant by the term "assistant preacher" in the 
above plan. Wesley was accustomed to name all the 

FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 251 

traveling preachers associated with him as assistants. 
Hence every traveling preacher in Europe and Amer- 
ica was an assistant. Here, however, the assistant is 
so called to distinguish him from the presiding elder 
as well as from the helper. Every man in charge of 
a circuit or station was an assistant. 
Holston reported numbers in Society as follows : 

Holston District. 

Whites. Colored. 

Abingdon 297 54 

Clinch 344 36 

Carter's Valley 320 34 

Holston 494 53 

Lee 261 90 

Tazewell 336 41 

Ashe 150 4 

Total 2,202 312 

French Broad District. 

Nollichucky 822 45 

. Little River 594 46 

Knoxville 507 53 

Powell's Valley 314 5 

Sequatche'e 273 

Tennessee Valley 226 

Total 2,736 149 

Total for districts 4,938 461 

Grand total, 5,399; an increase of 42. 

The depletion by emigration and other causes had 
not only been arrested, but there was a slight tendency 

The following were admitted into the Conference: 
George Brown, John Kesterson, Joshua Butcher, 


John Brooks, Samuel Harwell, Obadiah Freeman 
Samuel D. Sanson, Ansel Richardson, Robert Paine 
Hartwell H. Brown, Sterling C. Brown, Georg( 
Locke, Thomas Madden, Robert Hooper, Isaac E 
Holt, Elisha Simmons, David Adams, Abraham Still 
Lewis S. Marshall. 

The preachers appointed to Holston were : 

Holston District. 

Jesse Cunnyngham, presiding elder. 

Abingdon, to be supplied. 

Clinch, Jesse Green. 

Carter's Valley, Obadiah Freeman. 

Holston, George Ekin. 

Lee, John Dever. 

Tazewell, David Adams. 

Ashe, Clinton Tucker. 

French Broad District. 

James Axley, presiding elder. 
Nollichucky, William Manson. 
Little River, George Locke. 
Knoxville, George Atkin. 
Powell's Valley, Nicholas Norwood. 
Seqnatchee, James Porter. 
Tennessee Valley, James Witten. 

The Tennessee Conference met in Nashville Octo- 
ber 1, 18 19. Bishops McKendree and George were 
both present, and they presided alternately; but the 
journal was signed by Bishop George. Charles Hol- 
liday was elected Secretary, and William Adams, as- 

At this session the slavery question caused a consid- 
erable disturbance of the harmony of the Conference. 
The issue between the radicals and the conservatives 

FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 2 53 

was sharply joined. Gilbert D. Taylor, recommended 
by the Quarterly Conference of Shoal Circuit for ad- 
mission as a traveling preacher, was not admitted in 
consequence of his being a slaveholder. All con- 
ceded that it was not practicable at that time for him 
to emancipate his slaves ; and, after considerable de- 
bate, the presiding elder was authorized to employ 
him, on his giving assurance that he would emanci- 
pate his slaves "when practicable." Peter Burum was 
refused admission for the same reason. Dudley Har- 
grove, of the Tuscaloosa Circuit, and others (local 
preachers), applicants for deacon's orders, were re- 
jected for the same reason. 

In the debate and action on these cases the anti- 
slavery party triumphed by a majority of five. The 
minority was sorely disappointed, and prepared and 
presented the following protest : 

Be it remembered that, whereas the Tennessee Conference, 
held in Nashville October 1, 1819, have taken a course in 
their decision relative to the admission of preachers on trial 
in the traveling connection, and in the election of local preach- 
ers to ordination, which goes to fix the principle that no 
man even in those States where the law does not admit of 
emancipation shall be admitted on trial, or ordained to the 
office of deacon or elder, if it is understood that he is an 
owner of a slave or slaves (that this course is taken is not 
to be denied, and it is avowedly designed to fix the prin- 
ciple already mentioned; several cases might be mentioned, 
but it is deemed unnecessary to instance any except the case 
of Dr. Gilbert D. Taylor, proposed for admission, and Dud- 
ley Hargrove, recommended for ordination) — we deprecate 
the course taken as oppressively severe in itself and ruinous in 
its consequences; and we disapprove of the principle as con- 
trary to, and in violation of, the order and discipline of our 
Church. We, therefore, do most solemnly and in the fear of 


God, as members of this Conference, enter our protest against 
the proceedings of the Conference as it relates to the above- 
mentioned course and principle. 

Nashville, October 7, 1819. Signed by Thomas L. Douglass, 
Thomas D. Porter, William McMahon, Benjamin Malone, 
Ebenezer Hearn, Lewis Garrett, Barnabas McHenry, William 
Allgood, William C. Stribling, Timothy Carpenter, Thomas 
Stringfield, Benjamin Edge, Joshua Boucher, William Hart, 
John Johnson, Henry B. Bascom. 1 

Bascom was the writer of the protest. 

Dudley Hargrove, who was at this Conference de- 
nied ordination because he was a slaveholder, was 
grandfather of Bishop Robert K. Hargrove; and it 
is an interesting coincidence that the grandson was 
elected and ordained Bishop of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South, in the same city in which the 
grandfather had been denied ordination to deacon's 
orders sixty-two years before. 

We have seen how the sessions of the Annual Con- 
ference were disturbed by the slavery question; but 
as a matter of course the disturbance extended to the 
Societies, where many of the preachers attempted to 
carry out the decrees of the General and Annual Con- 

I have before me the minutes of certain Quarterly 
Conferences of the French Broad Circuit for the years 
1809-11. I here note the action taken in some of these 
Conferences under the slavery rule: "Richard Raghill 
cited to trial before Q. M. Conference for selling ne- 
groes; the Conference condemn him and accordingly 
expel him. John Casteel cited to trial before Q. M. 
Conference for buying negroes ; the Conference con- 

1 Henkle's "Life of Bascom," pp. 114- 119. 

FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 255 

demn him and accordingly expel him. Robert War- 
ren cited to trial before Q. M. Conference for selling 
negroes; the Conference condemn him and accord- 
ingly expel him." 

These expulsions took place at a Quarterly Confer- 
ence held at Whittenbarger's. At a quarterly meeting 
held at Shiloh this action was taken: "The case of 
William Epperson came before the Conference for 
selling two colored people for life. The Conference 
consider him as acting from speculative motives and 
accordingly expel him." At Middle Settlements the 
following action was taken: "On promising to eman- 
cipate his slaves when the law will permit, George 
Reynolds was licensed to exhort. Decius Browder 
required to appear and answer at the next Conference 
for buying a negro; dismissed for future hearing. 
Simon Eldridge to appear at next Conference and 
answer for buying a negro; dismissed as not coming 
under the present rule." At Macedonia the follow- 
ing action was taken: "James Colter being charged 
before the Conference of having sold a negro man 
agreeable to his own choice and bought a negro wom- 
an and child, the subject being discussed before the 
Conference, and the sale taken was determined by the 
Conference to be a case of speculation, from which 
judgment he, the said James Colter, appealed to the 
Annual Conference. The case of Stephen Henry, 
having bought a negro boy twelve years old, for 
which he gave two hundred and fifty dollars, was 
submitted by himself to the Conference to determine 
how long he shall serve to repay the price of his pur- 
chase with the interest arising thereon ; the Conference 
determined that he should serve sixteen years; also 


at the expiration of which time the said Henry shall 
liberate him, if the laws of the State will admit of it, 
or forfeit his standing in the Methodist Church; pro- 
vided, however, that if said boy shall lose time by 
sickness he shall make it up after the expiration of 
the time of his servitude. The case of Foster Free- 
man for selling negroes came before the Conference ; 
from testimony it appeared that he was ignorant of 
the existing rule on that subject in this Conference, 
in consequence of which the Conference thought him 
excusable, and retained him as a member of our 

At several other places on the circuit similar action 
was taken. The above is copied as a specimen of 
what was taking place throughout Holston District, 
and possibly throughout the Western Conference, at 
that time. The above protest shows that by 1819 a 
reaction had begun to set in. The perfunctory and 
barbarous manner in which good men were arraigned 
and ejected from the Church of their choice for buy- 
ing and selling slaves, when dealing in slave property 
was an essential concomitant of slave ownership, and 
when it is a well-known principle of political economy 
that marketableness is essential to commercial value, 
shows the existence of an intense antislavery feeling 
in the Church at that time, rigorous ideas of disci- 
pline, and a harshness toward the white man that con- 
trasted sharply with the tenderness indulged toward 
the black man. But our forefathers were honest, and 
they were terribly in earnest. 

The numbers in Society reported from Holston were 
as follows; 

FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 257 

Holston District. 

Whites. Colored. 

Abingdon 277 46 

Clinch ' 332 18 

Carter's Valley 294 30 

Holston 487 64 

Lee 371 23 

Tazewell 331 38 

Ashe 125 

Total 2,217 219 

French Broad District. 

Nollichucky = ... JJ2> 63 

Little River 577 57 

Knoxville 507 53 

Powell's Valley S37 16 

Sequatchee 228 8 

Tennessee Valley 356 38 

Total 2,778 235 

Total for districts 4,995 454 

Grand total, 5,449; a gain of 50. 

The Conference year 1818-19 was one of great pros- 
perity throughout the connection, and the Tennessee 
Conference largely shared in this prosperity. The net 
increase in the connection was 15,957, an d tne Ten- 
nessee Conference reported this year (1819) a mem- 
bership of 23,164 against 20,676 in 18 18, a gain of 

Fourteen men were admitted on trial, as follows : 
William Peter, Elijah Kirkman, John Bradfield, Mere- 
dith Reneau, Jacob Whitworth, Richard W. Morris, 
Ellison Taylor, Moses Smith, Martin Flint, Samuel 
Patton, William Gunn, Josiah Browder, Thomas W. 
Norwood, Chelsea Cole. The following were read- 


mitted: John Bowman, Nathan Allgood, John Wat- 
son, David Gardner, and Thomas Stillwell. 

The appointments for Holston were as follows: 

Holston District. 

Jesse Cunnygham, presiding elder. 

Lee, John Kesterson. 

Clinch, David Adams. 

Tazewell, Abraham Still. 

Abingdon, James Porter. 

Ashe, Obadiah Freeman. 

Holston, John Bowman, Josiah Browder. 

Carter's Valley, George Ekin. 

French Broad District. 

James Axley, presiding elder. 

Nollichncky, William Manson. 

Powell's Valley, George Locke. 

Tennessee Valley, Benjamin Edge, Elisha Simmons. 

Sequatchee Valley, Samuel Patton. 

Little River, John Bradfield. 

Knox, Robert Hooper. 

Knoxville, James Dixon. 

Nicholas Norwood has no station this year. 

The delegates elected to the General Conference 
were : Marcus Lindsey, Jesse Cunnyngham, Charles 
Holliday, Peter Cartwright, James Axley, William 
Adams, and Andrew Monroe. 

John S. Ford was admitted into the South Car- 
olina Conference in 1809; received into full connec- 
tion in the Western Conference in 181 1 ; ordained dea- 
con in the Tennessee Conference in 1815 ; ordained 
elder and located in the South Carolina Conference in 
1818. The minutes of the Tennessee Conference also 
show that he was received into full connection in 1815. 
This double reception can be accounted for by the 

FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 259 

fact that he was only elected deacon but not ordained 
in 181 1 in the South Carolina Conference; and when 
he was ordained in the Tennessee Conference, his 
previous reception being forgotten or ignored, he was 
formally received again ; else the note of his reception 
at one of the times was a clerical error. He did all 
his work as a traveling preacher in the South Car- 
olina, Western, and Tennessee Conferences. He was 
appointed to the Nollichucky Circuit in 1815, and to 
the Black Mountain Circuit in 1818, touching the Hol- 
ston field at two points. Mr. Ford was one of the 
men that planted Methodism in Mississippi and Loui- 
siana, enduring great hardships. Jones says: "Mr. 
Ford was all through his ministerial career, of about 
sixty years, noted for the uniformity and fervor of his 
piety, zeal, well-balanced judgment, and abundant la- 
bors and usefulness in the cause to which his long life 
was devoted." 1 

Thomas D. Porter was admitted into the Western 
Conference in 181 1, and located in 1822. In 1817 
he was appointed to Holston Circuit. He was placed 
in charge of the Tennessee District in 18 18, and con- 
tinued on that work three years; after a year of 
superannuation he located. In 18 14 William McMa- 
hon was appointed to Shelby Circuit, and Porter to 
Jefferson; but in compliance with the wishes of the 
people the. two circuits were united- That was a year 
of great peace and prosperity on the dual charge ; sev- 
eral camp meetings were held, and many souls were 
born into the kingdom. Dr. McMahon speaks of 
Porter as "a most excellent man, young, handsome, 

"'Methodism in Mississippi," Vol I., p. 237. 



modest, talented, pious, and exceedingly zealous and 
useful." 1 

Allen Turner was admitted into the South Carolina 
Conference in 1811. He traveled in that Conference 
till the Georgia Conference was set off, and he be- 
came a member of that. His appointments indicate 
that he was a man of only moderate ability, although 
he reached the presiding eldership, having been pre- 
siding elder of the Oconee District, South Carolina 
Conference, for two years. He was superannuated, 
in the Georgia Conference, in 1833, an d was st M on 
that roll as late as 1844 — which is as far as I have 
traced him. He comes within the purview of our 
history by having been appointed to the upper French 
Circuit in 1818. While on that circuit he seems to 
have had friends and admirers. In Asheville, N. C, 
there now resides a distinguished lawyer, who was a 
member of the Confederate Congress, and who is a 
namesake of Allen Turner — to wit, the Hon. Allen 
Turner Davidson. 2 

Dr. Smith, the historian of Georgia and Florida 
Methodism, says : 

Allen Turner's name appears as junior preacher on the 
Washington Circuit. It stood upon the minutes for forty 
years after this. He was an unlettered boy, but one whose 
very heart depths had been stirred by his religious conflicts, 
and who had found a rich peace in a simple faith. He was a 
man of very marked peculiarities, strong in his convictions 
of what was right, and bold in asserting them. He dressed 
in the style of the older Methodists, never allowed himself 
the luxury of a laugh, and appeared to be a man of great 

'Memphis Christian Advocate, May 10, i860. 
"Deceased since this was written. 

FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 261 

austerity; but was really a man of exquisite gentleness. He 
was afraid of no man, and fought fearlessly when his prin- 
ciples were attacked. Judge Longstreet, who was his great 
friend, wrote some articles in favor of instrumental music 
in churches. Uncle Allen assailed him right gallantly, and 
made a brave tilt, even though he failed to unhorse his an- 
tagonist. Did a preacher wear a beard, or shave on Sun- 
day, he might expect an attack from this censor omnium. 
He did much hard work, and did it cheerfully. . . . He 
was wonderfully gifted in prayer, and was a man of mighty 
faith. He was as well known and as highly respected as any 
man of his time, "for e'en his failings leaned to virtue's 
side." 1 

Zechariah Mitchell was admitted into the Baltimore 
Conference in 1813, and located in 1818. His charges 
were confined to that Conference. He was appointed 
to New River Circuit, in the Greenbrier District, in 
1816, a circuit which had been and now is connected 
with the Holston work, though the name originally 
applied to the circuit has been discontinued. In 18 17 
he was sent to Walker's Creek Circuit, in Giles Coun- 
ty, Va. 

Zechariah Mitchell was a son of Samuel Mitchell 
and Lucinda Cecil, and on the maternal side grandson 
of Samuel W. Cecil, who came from England about 
A.D. 1745, and in 1760 settled in what is now Pulaski 
County, Va. Zechariah Mitchell was born December 
18, 1 79 1, and licensed to preach at Nicewander's Meet- 
inghouse, now in Bland County, Va., July 4, 181 2, and 
shortly afterwards employed to travel New River Cir- 
cuit as helper with the Rev. John Charles, Christopher 
Frye presiding elder. He was married to Elizabeth 
Newland, Smythe County, Va., May 13, 181 7; and, 

'Methodism in Georgia and Florida," pp. 171, 172. 



FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 2 &3 

as was both the custom and necessity of that day, he 
located afterwards, and settled on the head waters of 
Cripple Creek, near the famous Asbury Camp Ground. 
He had ten children, among whom was John B., a 
classmate at Emory and Henry College of Prof. James 
A. Davis and the Rev. Joseph H. Price. John Mitch- 
ell and Joseph Price, while students, laid a deep and 
cunning scheme for building up their society, the Cal- 
liopean, which was at that time languishing, which 
scheme, innocently on their part, led to the withdraw- 
al of the entire Hermesian Society from the college. 
Without any intention on their part of creating such 
disastrous results, the scheme created a misunder- 
standing between President Collins and the Herme- 
sian Society ; and neither Collins nor the society knew 
the real cause of the explosion. John B. was a long- 
headed boy, with the instinct of statesmanship, which 
he inherited from a brainy ancestry. 

Zechariah Mitchell reared his family in the fear of 
God. As local preacher and practicing physician he 
built up an enviable reputation in his own and adjoin- 
ing counties. He was always loyal to his pastor, and 
filled regular Sunday appointments until after he had 
passed his three score and ten. He sold his farm on 
Cripple Creek in 1867, and he and his wife returned to 
Pulaski County, and made their home with their son- 
in-law, Mr. John G. Cecil. In the seventy-eighth 
year of his age, accompanied by the Rev. B. W. S. 
Bishop and Thomas K. Cecil, he returned to Bland 
County, and near the spot where he had been licensed 
to preach, fifty-seven years before, he, to use his own 
language, preached his own funeral sermon and that 
of Newberry, Bruce, and Cecil, his old comrades, who 


had gone to their reward, leaving him here alone. 
January 18, 1872, he "fell on sleep" in great peace, 
and his body was laid to rest in the Cecil Cemetery 
by the side of the sleeping dust of his old comrade 
and kinsman, the Rev. John G. Cecil. February 28, 
1878, his faithful wife followed him. 

Brother Mitchell, while living, related to his grand- 
son, the Rev. Thomas M. Cecil, the following anec- 
dote. I give it in his own language: 

One of my preaching places was a log house in the midst 
of a clearing. The house was occupied by the father, mother, 
and some eight or ten lusty boys and girls. After a hard 
day's ride through the wilderness, I reached this house one 
afternoon about four o'clock. Seeing that the family was 
poor, I took a rifle, went into the woods, and killed a half 
dozen squirrels, which I dressed preparatory for the evening 
meal. In due time supper was announced, and the smoking 
dish of squirrels whetted an appetite already ravenous from 
the loss of dinner. The father, mother, and myself were 
seated at the table on board stools, while the children stood 
around as interested spectators. I closed my eyes reverently 
and said grace. When I opened my eyes I found that the 
greedy children had snatched the last piece of squirrel, leav- 
ing me nothing but the sop. But I profited by this sad ex- 
perience. On my next round, when I came to this place, 
I furnished squirrel as before; but when I went to say grace 
I held a piece in the dish with my fork, which I thus saved, 
but the children snatched the other pieces. 

I knew Father Mitchell in his old age, for he had 
a long and useful career as a local preacher. He re- 
sided in Wythe County, and was a farmer as well as 
physician. He preached very extensively on Sundays 
near his own home and at distant points. Being evan- 
gelical and emotional in his style, he was frequently 
called upon to preach funeral sermons, and it was 

FROM l8l6 TO 1819. 265 

said that he preached more funeral sermons than any 
preacher, traveling or local, in his section. He was 
tall and portly, and rather rawboned. He had the 
mouth of an orator and a fluent utterance. He was 
a fine conversationalist. He did not possess the se- 
verity and sternness of some of the pioneers ; but had 
sunshine in his heart and face, looked on the bright 
side of things, spoke cheerfully and charitably of oth- 
ers, and in his tongue was the law of kindness. With 
a limited education himself, he was fully alive to the 
importance of school training, and gave his children 
the best school and college advantages within his 

Mr. Mitchell has already been noticed in an anec- 
dote in connection with the Rev. John Kobler, and in 
a notice of "the big four" in a previous chapter. He 
passed away many years since, but his memory lin- 
gers in the New River country as a sweet perfume. 

Benjamin Edge was admitted into the Western Con- 
ference in 1804, and died a member of the Virginia 
Conference in 1836. He labored in Kentucky, Mis- 
sissippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. 

His Holston appointments were: 1817, Powell's 
Valley; 1819, Tennessee Valley; in 1818-19 he was 
the traveling companion of Bishop McKendree. He 
was transferred to the Virginia Conference in 1821, 
and spent the remainder of his days in that Confer- 
ence. Dr. William A. Smith remembered him as a 
good and very eccentric man. He died in Norfolk 
very soon after the close of the Conference of 1836. 
Dr. Smith was then preacher in charge of the Church 
in Norfolk. He gave Brother Edge good quarters, but 
was too busy to give him personal attention, and was 


probably absent from the city when he died. The 
family with which he stayed were greatly interested 
in him, and were both edified and comforted by the 
last hours of that truly good man, though unknown tc 
fame. 1 

Speaking of the year 1809, Jones says: "Of the 
preachers who labored in Mississippi this year we 
know but little in connection with their ministry whik 
here. We have learned, however, that Thomas Hel- 
iums and Anthony Houston were highly esteemed 
and that Jedidiah McMinn had a fine personal ap- 
pearance, and was looked upon as a promising young 
man. Benjamin Edge, however, on some accounts 
made the most lasting impression. He was somewhai 
eccentric and very earnest in his work, and such .was 
his zeal and power in the pulpit that one comparec 
him to a strong man knocking down green corn stalk 1 
with a handspike." 2 

Isaac Quinn was admitted into the Western Con- 
ference in 1806, and located, in the Tennessee Con 
ference, in 18 17. He labored in Ohio, Mississippi 
Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia. His Holston cir- 
cuits were: 1808, Clinch; 1816, Tazewell (Va.) 
Jones, speaking of him, says: "Isaac Quinn had trav 
eled three years before his appointment to Mississippi 
and was a young man of more than ordinary prom 
ise. 3 

McAnally tells a good story of Mr. Quinn. It re 
lates to the year in which he was on Tazewell Circuit 

'Letter of Dr. Smith to Dr. Redford, dated St. Louis, Mo. 
March 21, 1868. 
2 "Methodism in Mississippi," Vol. I., p. 207. 
3 "Methodism in Mississippi," Vol. I., p. 210. 

FROM l8l6 TO l8lt). 267 

He had a preaching place on Bluestone. He had an 
appointment on a hot summer day. Most of the peo- 
ple had come on foot, and, being tired, were disposed 
to be drowsy during the delivery of the sermon, which 
that day chanced to be lacking in animation. Quiet- 
ly one after another dropped asleep, till all except the 
preacher and one woman were oblivious to all terres- 
trial things. Quinn, casting his eyes around and tak- 
ing in the situation, pronounced the benediction, took 
up his hat and saddlebags, and left. The woman pit- 
eously inquired : "Brother Quinn, a'Wt you gwine to 
leave another app'intment?" "No/' said Quinn, turn- 
ing his head and speaking over his shoulder; "God 
never called me to preach to people I can't keep 
awake." Before the people v/ere sufficiently awake 
to take in the state of affairs, Quinn had mounted his 
horse and gone. At length a pious brother exclaimed : 
"The preacher is gone and the Spirit is gone; let us 
pray!'' They were mortified and humbled, and con- 
tinued for some time singing and praying. They then 
went home deeply grieved and penitent, but not until 
they had appointed another prayer meeting. Prayer 
meetings were kept up ; the religious interest increased 
from meeting to meeting, and finally resulted in a 
gracious revival." 1 

Benjamin Peeples was admitted into the Tennessee 
Conference in 1816, and located in 1822. His only 
Holston charge was Littte River Circuit, to which he 
was appointed in 1816. When he first desisted from 
traveling, he located in Middle Tennessee. After la- 
boring in the local ranks for a season, he returned to 

'Life of the Rev. William Pattern," pp. 29, 30. 


the itinerant work ; but again located for lack of health 
and studied and entered upon the practice of medicine 
His excellent wife, who for forty years pitched hei 
tent at Manley's Camp Ground, lived a beautiful life 
of Christian perfection. She reared her three broth- 
ers for the ministry, and gave three sons to this hoi) 
calling. 1 

a McFerrin's "History of Methodism in Tennessee," Vol 
II., pp. 458, 459. 

From 1819 to 1822. — Sketches of Preachers. 

The General Conference of 1820 was held in the 
Eutah Street Church, in Baltimore, beginning May 1. 
The question of an elective presiding eldership came 
up again at that session. Up to that date the presid- 
ing elders had been, as they are now, the appointees 
of the bishop. They represented the bishop, and were 
his agents and vicegerents. They were appointed and 
removed from office at his will. But there had been 
a growing sentiment in favor of a greater distribution 
of power and a more democratic polity. The sought- 
for change in relation to the appointment of the pre- 
siding elders had hitherto been argued on the ground 
of right; it was now argued on the ground of expe- 
diency. It was argued that the sentiment of the 
Church demanded it, and that if this concession were 
not made there was danger of division. The debate 
was able and ardent, and lasted for two days, and the 
liberals prevailed. The resolutions adopted gave the 
bishop authority to nominate three times the number 
of presiding elders needed, out of which nominations 
the Conference was to elect. 

Before the settlement of this question the Rev. 
Joshua Soule was elected bishop. While the presid- 
ing elder question pended he took no part in the dis- 
cussion. But after the adoption of the resolutions he 
addressed a note to the bishops stating that he be- 



lieved the resolutions adopted were in violation of the 
constitution. This note brought the bishops together 
in council. Bishops Roberts and McKendree agreed 
with Mr. Soule, and Bishop George was silent ; "and 
the college resolved to ordain him, although he had 
signified that, as bishop, he would be constrained to 
disregard the new law. But the matter was laid be- 
fore the Conference, and some who had voted for the 
resolutions became convinced that the Conference 
had exceeded its bounds. But the bishop elect, hav- 
ing received information that a large proportion of the 
delegates who had opposed his election had resolved 
to remonstrate against his ordination, offered his 
resignation. The Conference then suspended the op- 
eration of the resolution for four years. The firm- 
ness of Mr. Soule deprived the Church of four years 
of his services as bishop, but it broke the spirit of 
reform along that line. Four years afterwards the 
General Conference receded from its ground, and Mr. 
Soule was elected again and ordained. 

Among the advocates in the General Conference 
of an elective presiding eldership were Garrettson, 
Cooper, Bangs, Hedding, Pickering, Emory, and 
Waugh; among those who opposed it were Collins, 
Capers, Andrew, Roszel, Reed, and Soule. Of these 
thirteen men, six subsequently became bishops; and 
to show the popularity of the reform movement, Hed- 
ding, one of the leading liberals, was, together with 
Mr. Soule, elected and ordained bishop at the next 
General Conference; and Emory and Waugh, also 
liberals, became bishops later. 

Up to the General Conference of 1820 the Ohio and 
Tennessee Conferences each included parts of Ken- 

FROM l8l9 TO l822. 271 

tucky. All that part of the State lying north and east 
of the Kentucky River was embraced in the Ken- 
tucky District, and belonged to the Ohio Conference ; 
while the Green River, Salt River, and Cumberland 
Districts were included in the Tennessee Conference. 
The General Conference at this session set off the 
Kentucky Conference, making it include the Ken- 
tucky, Salt River, Green River, and Cumberland Dis- 
tricts, Greenbrier and Monroe Circuits, in Virginia, 
the Kanawha and Middle Island Circuits of the Ohio 
Conference, and a small strip of Tennessee embraced 
in Green River and Cumberland Districts. 

The Tennessee Conference was made to include 
the Nashville, French Broad, and Holston Districts, 
together with the New River Circuit, hitherto belong- 
ing to the Baltimore Conference, and the part of the 
Tennessee District which lay north of the Tennessee 
River. That part of North Alabama which lay south 
of the Tennessee River, long in the Tennessee Con- 
ference, was thrown into the Mississippi Conference. 
The Tennessee Conference therefore included South- 
western Virginia and the whole of Tennessee, except 
the small portion set off to the Kentucky Conference. 

The Tennessee Conference met this year (1820) 
in Hopkinsville, Ky., October 4. The preachers who 
expected to compose the Kentucky Conference met 
with them. No bishop being present, Marcus Lindsey 
was elected chairman. He presided with dignity, and 
gave satisfaction. 

Some of the preachers who were to be set off to the 
new Conference wished to organize separately, but a 
resolution allowing them to do so was overruled by 
the President. The Conference fixed by ballot the 


place of holding the next session of the Tennessee 
Conference, and the President fixed the place of hold- 
ing the Kentucky Conference. 

The numbers in Society reported from Holston were 
as follows: 

Holston District. 

Whites. Colored. 

Lee 3-27 21 

Clinch 426 38 

Tazewell 390 37 

Abingdon 317 42 

Ashe 135 

Holston 495 68 

Carter's Valley 526 98 

Total 2,616 304 

French Broad District. 

Nollichucky 800 59 

Powell's Valley 492 30 

Tennessee Valley 377 54 

Sequatchee Valley 370 7 

Little River 606 74 

Knox 500 16 

Knoxville 48 20 

Hiwassee 106 

Paint Rock 134 

Total 3,433 260 

Total for districts 6,049 564 

Grand total, 6,613; a gain of 164. 

The net increase in the bounds of the Conference 
had been 11,395, more than half the net increase in 
the entire connection. There had been throughout the 
Conference a deep and widespread revival of religion. 
The revival wave had been felt in Holston ; but the 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 273 

richer and cheaper lands in the West held out power- 
ful inducements to the settlers among the hills of the 
Holston country, causing them to remove in that di- 
rection, thus diminishing the net increase here and 
increasing it there. 
The appointments for Holston were as follows : 

French Broad District. 

James Axley, presiding elder. 

Nollichucky, James dimming. 

Powell's Valley, Jesse Green. 

Tennessee Valle}', Obadiah Freeman, Robert Hopper, 

Sequatchee Valley, John Kesterson, John Paulsaul. 

Little River, Abram Still, Wiley B. Peck. 

Knox, David Adams, Jesse Cunnyngham, Slip. 

Knoxville and Greeneville, James Dixon. 

Hiwassee, Thomas Payne. 

Holston District. 

John Tevis, presiding elder. 

Lee, James Witten. 

Clinch, Samuel Patton. 

Tazewell, John Bradfield. . 

New River, to be supplied. 

Ashe, John Bowman. 

Abingdon, Ansel Richardson. 

Holston, William S. Manson, William P. Kendrick. 

Carter's Valley, George Ekin. 

Missionaries to that part of Jackson's Purchase embraced 
in the States of Kentucky and Tennessee, Hezekiah Holland 
and Lewis Garrett. 

Thirty-one preachers were admitted into the Con- 
ference, whose names are as follows : M ilton Jameson, 
William Young, Edward Stevenson, John Evans, Wil- 
liam Martin, David Gray, Esau Simmons, Allen B. 
Dillard, W. M. McReynolds, J. W. McRevnolds, 


Blotchey C. Wood, Luke C. Allen, John Denham, Jo- 
seph B. Wynn, Joseph Williams, Elias Tidwell, Hen- 
ry Gregg, William P. Kendrick, James Cumming, 
Thomas Payne, John Paulsaul, Wiley B. Peck, Ben- 
jamin M. Drake, Aquila Sampson, Alson J. Waters, 
A. J. Crawford, B. P. Seawell, William B. Carpenter, 
Jacob Sullivan, Samuel Hyneman, Isaac Reynolds. 

At this session of the Conference a committee was 
appointed to take the subject of missions into consid- 
eration and report. The report, which was adopted, 
directed the President to send two missionaries to 
Jackson's Purchase, recommended the organization of 
a missionary society auxiliary to the Missionary So- 
ciety of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New 
York, and enjoined upon the presiding elders and 
preachers in charge the duty of taking up- collections 
for the support of the missionaries of the Conference. 
This action of the Conference was its first step toward 
the organization of a missionary society. At the same 
session steps were taken looking to the establishment 
of a Conference Seminary of Learning. A committee 
was appointed to confer with the trustees of Bethel 
Academy, at Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Ky., 
with reference to the establishment of such seminary, 
with power to adopt means and raise money for such 
an institution. This was the first step of the Confer- 
ence toward establishing an institution of learning. 

In the spring of 1902 I visited friends in the little 
town of Wilmore, Ky., during the commencement ex- 
ercises of Asbury College, an institution conducted 
under the auspices of people who believe in the sec- 
ond blessing theory of sanctification. The president 
of the college, the Rev. J. W. Hughe's, gave me a 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 275 

pleasant ride to the old site of Bethel Academy, which 
was the outcome of the above Conference action. This 
school was probably the first educational project of 
the Methodist Church in the Southwest. A man by the 
name of Jones gave a hundred acres of land on the 
banks of the Kentucky River for the school. The 
Methodists put up a three-story brick building about 
eighty feet long and forty feet wide, and'a school was 
kept in the building for a number of years. Some 
Annual Conferences were held in this building. The 
site was selected in the country and in the woods, 
about five miles southwest of what is now Wilmore, a 
few hundred yards from the river, and only a short 
distance from the High Bridge Camp Ground, where 
in recent years camp meetings have been held on a 
large and worldly scale. The river is narrow and 
deep, and its bed is an almost continuous canyon, 
bounded by high, perpendicular walls of limestone, 
and furnishing at many points scenery both grand and 
picturesque. By means of locks and dams steamboats 
pass this point, running far up toward the mountains. 

At this then sequestered spot the building was 
erected that the school might be removed, as far as 
possible, from the corruptions of town life. The 
early Methodists made many blunders in the location 
of schools and churches. It was not unusual to see 
a meetinghouse perched on a hill in the suburbs of a 
town, where the loud preaching, loud singing, and 
shouting could not disturb the quiet of the non- 
churchgoing people of the community. But expe- 
rience has taught the Methodists the folly of hiding 
out schools and meetinghouses, has brought them to 
see that such buildings should be convenient to the 


people, and that a central and popular location is just 
as important for a school or a church as for a hotel 
or a commercial establishment. It is not strange that 
this school, being too far away from the people, did 
not prosper. With the mournful interest of an anti- 
quarian I viewed the ruins, saw man}' of the lime- 
stone slabs that were in the foundation and many of 
the brick that were in the walls. The Wilmore School, 
dubbed "Asbury College," has been a success, and may 
be considered the true successor to Bethel Academy. 

In 1820 a camp ground was established on Clear 
Creek, Cocke County, Tenn. The principal tenters 
were Jacob Easterly, Jacob Faubion, William Garrett, 
Thomas Gray, Samuel Harned, James Gilliland, Abel 
Gilliland, Henry Potter, Jesse Reeve, Moses Faubion, 
James Holland, John Holland, Reuben Allen, Baldwin 
Harle, George Parrott, Thomas Fowler. 

As the administrative officials had little to do in 
erecting the camp ground, the elder did not attend the 
first camp meeting, and but few of the preachers were 
there. Human nature will crop out even in religious 
matters. But the Lord provided a preacher of ability. 
The Rev. John Haynie, a local preacher and merchant, 
living at that time in Knoxville, attended the meeting, 
and was the principal preacher of the occasion. He 
preached every day at eleven o'clock. A vast con- 
course of people attended, and good order was pre- 
served. Haynie was a well-read, clear-headed, prac- 
tical preacher. lie seldom perpetrated what preach- 
ers call "a failure." He was a man of deep piety, and 
an able and effective expounder of the Word of God. 
He was tall and spare, with black hair and black eyes. 
He had no affectation ; his manner in the pulpit was 

FROM l8l9 TO l822. 277 

easy and graceful, his voice clear and musical, and 
strong enough to be heard at the outskirts of the large 
audiences that listened to his sermons. His preaching 
on that occasion produced a profound and lasting im- 
pression for good. 

This camp ground continued for many years to be 
the center from which radiated hoi}' influences to va- 
rious parts of the country, until it gave place to one a 
few miles up the same creek in the vicinity of Par- 
rottsville. 1 

In 1859 Mrs. Jane T. H. Cross visited Texas. In a 
letter of hers published in the Xew Orleans Christian 
Advocate she thus speaks of "Father Haynie:" 

One person, particularly, attracted my attention. It was 
an old gentleman who was assisted into the room during the 
prayer meeting. He sat with his crutches beside him, lean- 
ing back against one side of the fireplace. His frame was 
tremulous, as if his feet had already been slipped into the 
chill waters of the Jordan, but his complexion wore the 
clear hue of youth, and his eyes shone with the light, wheth- 
er of early manhood or that eternal youth to which he ap- 
proaches, I know not. In the interval between the prayer 
meeting and preaching some one, to my joy, offered to in- 
troduce me to him. "Father Haynie," they said; and while 
he kindly expressed his pleasure at meeting me, I felt as if I 
could have fallen at his feet. There he sat, the laborer in 
the rough parts of the vineyard, the workman who had not 
shunned toil, nor hardship, nor danger. "I have worn out 
my constitution," he said, "and I would wear out fifty more, 
if I had them, in the same cause." I felt the warm tears 
coming up into my eyes as he said this. So near home ! his 
tottering feet almost upon the threshold of our Father's 
house! How could one but envy him? Not far from him 

*Hon. W. Garrett, in "Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., 
pp. 495, 496. 


sat his gentle, patient-looking little wife. I saw her refuse 
a comfortable seat, and her manner of doing it impressed 
me with the opinion that she had not fretted much over the 
little disagreeabilities of life, but had learned, in whatever 
situation she was, therewith to be content. The old gentle- 
man made one remark which still lingers about my heart in 
serious moments. He said: "Methodism is spreading, and 
I thank my God for it. We are becoming a more cultivated 
and better taught people, and that is well. Let us embrace 
science and knowledge and accomplishments, but let us ever 
bear with them a spirit of deep piety/' Yes, let the stream 
widen, but at the same time let it grow deeper and deeper. 
May this aspiration of a heart in which heaven and earth 
already meet and mingle be fulfilled ! I had the privilege 
of partaking of the Lord's Supper with this Father Haynie 
and his wife ; may we again partake of it in a place still more 
beautiful ! 

John Haynie was born in April, 1786 — where, I 
know not. His wife was born in August of the same 
year. He united with the Methodist Episcopal Church 
at Wagoner's, near Knoxville, in August, 1809 ; and 
although Mrs. Haynie was not with him at the meet- 
ing, he requested the preachers to put her name down 
too, as she always went with him in all his under- 
takings. When informed of what he had done, she 
fully indorsed the act. She afterwards experienced 
a sense of forgiveness while her husband was holding 
family prayers. In the fall of the year a church was 
built in Mr. Haynie 's neighborhood, four miles east 
of Knoxville, and was named Macedonia. In 18 16 
or 1817 he removed to Knoxville. His leading object 
in moving to the town was to labor for the estab- 
lishment of Methodism in the place. He at once be- 
gan preparations for building a house of worship. 
He requested a Mr. Xelson, a member of his Church, 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 279 

who was intimate with the White family, to apply to 
the father of the Hon. Hugh Lawson White for a lot 
on which to build. Mr. Nelson met the old gentle- 
man in his son's office, and broached the subject. The 
conversation attracted the attention of the younger 
White, who immediately asked Mr. Nelson this ques- 
tion; "Does Johnny want a lot to build a Methodist 
church on in Knoxville?" He was told that he did. 
"Well," said Judge White, "tell Johnny to have a cer- 
tain very eligible tract surveyed, and designate which 
lot he wants, and I will make him a deed to it." The 
lot was selected and the deed made, although, for lack 
of a sufficient number of members in town, some of 
the trustees were selected from a distance of twelve or 
fifteen miles in the country. As Judge White gave 
the lot and contributed liberally toward the erection of 
the house, it was named White's Chapel. It was in 
this church, named for him, that Judge White re- 
ceived the reproof for the use of tobacco during di- 
vine service from the Rev. James Axley, which is 
mentioned in a subsequent chapter. Mr. Haynie was 
present and heard the reproof. 

In 1825 Mr. Haynie removed to Tuscumbia, Ala., 
and in the fall of 1838 to Texas. Here the scarcity 
of ministers prompted him to give himself wholly to 
the itinerant work. The Texas Mission was then in 
the Mississippi Conference. He was admitted into 
that Conference in 1839. When the Texas Confer- 
ence was organized, in 1840, Mr. Haynie was enrolled 
as a member on trial. He was three times during the 
existence of the republic elected chaplain to Congress, 
and was chaplain to the Convention that formed the 
State Constitution. The last appointment that was 



FROM 1819 TO lS22. 28l 

given him was given him by Bishop Soule in 1845. 
He was present at the Conference held in La Grange 
in 1859. Unable to stand, from his armchair he ad- 
dressed the Conference in a few words, full of pathos 
and piety. Cheerful in hope and strong in faith, he 
gave his brethren his final farewell. Father Haynie 
died in August, i860, in his seventy-fifth year. 1 

In the same year in which Clear Creek Camp Ground 
was established (1820). Sulphur Spring Camp 
Ground, a few miles south of what is now Morris- 
town, Tenn., was established. The old settlers have 
passed away, but their descendants kept up meetings 
there until a short time after the Civil War. 

The camp meeting system has -been practically 
abandoned in this country, and this and other camp 
grounds have fallen into disuse. This place, when 
used for meetings, was accessible to a large district 
of country, and attracted the attention of persons at 
a distance ; and it had a very large patronage. The 
shelter for preaching was spacious, with wings all 
around to be lowered at night or in rainy weather 
and hoisted in the day. It was covered with shingles. 
The campus was conveniently large, and surrounded 
by two rows of tents, mostly framed and weather- 
boarded, and some of these with two stories. Be- 
sides these stationary tents or houses, there were 
scores of cloth tents scattered around outside. As 
might be expected in these conditions, the assemblies 
were very large. In the days of the greatest pop- 
ularity of this camp ground, in order to accommodate 

"A letter of "H. S. T.," of Rutersville, Tex., dated March 
13, i860, and published in the Nashville Christian Advocate. 


and reach the large numbers that attended, there was 
usually preaching at three or four different places on 
Sundays at eleven o'clock a.m. The ablest ministers 
were brought together here, and dispensed the word 
of life with much success. The good order observed 
on such occasions was remarkable. 1 

Since Sulphur Spring Camp Ground has been men- 
tioned, it may not be improper to introduce here a 
notice of the camp ground, the camp meetings held at 
it, and some of the men connected with its history, 
from the pen of that veteran Methodist preacher, the 
Rev. William C. Graves, written for the Methodist 
Advocate about the year 1887. Graves at the time 
was a preacher of the M. E. Church, and he wrote 
from a Northern Methodist standpoint : 

Who has not heard of Sulphur Spring Camp Ground? 
But there are many camp grounds of that name. The one 
about which I write is in East Tennessee, in Jefferson County, 
about fourteen miles northeast of Dandridge and four miles 
south of Morristown. Here a camp ground was built by 
the Methodists about seventy years ago. It became then, 
and continued for quite a long series of years, a kind of 
Methodist center for a large scope of country around. The 
first generation of Methodists in this region had mostly 
passed away — those that became such between the years 1783 
and 181 5. A few, however, still lingered and aided in build- 
ing up the camp ground. I will mention several persons, the 
most of whom belonged to the second generation of Meth- 
odists in this region; some few, however, may be classed with 
the first generation, and many of them had personal knowl- 
edge of those who had heard Bishop Asbury preach, and of 
those associated with him in his day. I give the names of 

1 W. Garrett, in "Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., pp. 
496, 497- 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 283 

those concerned in building up the camp ground, and the 
names of those who took their places in later years. Among 
the oldest, I mention the name of Solomon Wyatt, a local 
preacher. I saw him at a camp meeting in Parrottsville 
fifty years ago. His son, Lorenzo Dow Wyatt, also a local 
preacher, lived in that vicinity. The old brother was then 
far advanced in years, and probably did not live long after 
that. He lived a few miles east of the camp ground. 

Francis Daniel lived on Holston River, at the mouth of 
Young's Creek, just above Mayes's Ford, some ten miles 
northwest of the camp ground. He was one of the first 
settlers in that region, and was a Methodist and his house a 
preaching place as early as 1795. Sherrod Mayes and Ben- 
jamin McCarty were his associates in Church matters. His 
house was used as the place of worship for the Methodists 
during his lifetime. After his death his son Joseph occu- 
pied the old homestead, and preaching was kept up there as 
long as he lived, and even longer, for I was present at cir- 
cuit preaching there as late as 1848, and Joseph Daniel had 
then been dead some time. His associates in Church matters 
were Benjamin Ivy, Dudley Mayes, John Howell, and others. 
The preaching was changed to Benjamin Ivy's. After his 
death his children and others built a log church, the first 
Methodist church ever erected in that neighborhood. Men- 
tion has been made of an old brother by the name of Felk- 
nor, who used to worship with the first generation of Meth- 
odists at Daniel's. He lived east of the camp ground. Sev- 
eral Felknors still live in that region, and are Presbyterians. 

James Sparks was an early local preacher, but I have 
learned but little concerning him. James Landrum was a 
local preacher, and lived near the mouth of Lick Creek at 
the time the camp ground was built. He afterwards settled 
two miles west of Morristown, and aided in building the 
first Methodist church in that neighborhood. It was built at 
a point so easy of access from every direction that Rev. 
David Flemming gave it the name of Economy. Brother 
Landrum was among the first to find a grave in the grave- 
yard at Economy. George Weaver, son-in-law of Brother 
Landrum, was an early camper. I had personal knowledge 


of Brother Weaver and of most of Brother Landrum's chil- 
dren. The last to die was Sister Perryman, at the age of 

John Bewley, a local preacher, was among the campers. 
His father, Anthony Bewley, was not a Methodist, but his 
six sons were all Methodists, and one of his grandsons told 
me just a few days ago that they were all Methodist preach- 
ers except one, and that was his father, Jacob Bewley. John 
had died before I began to visit this region. Jacob I knew well. 
He was a camper. Anthony, his brother, I knew and heard 
preach fifty years ago. He lived and died near Warrens- 
burg. His son, Granade, was a local preacher. He died 
years ago, near Russellville. His widow and children still 
live thereabouts. Anthony's son, Calvin, was a traveling 
preacher, and died while on the New Market Circuit, in 1848. 
John Bewley's son, Anthony, was a traveling preacher, and 
was hanged in Texas because he was an abolitionist before 
the war. I heard him preach in 1834. Jacob's son, Philip M., 
became a preacher since the war, and died a year or two ago. 
Some of the Bewleys moved West. I know but little about 

Daniel Lyle, James Sharp, James Tillett, and Levi Sater- 
field were local preachers, and probably all camped. Daniel 
Lyle occupied his camp as late as 1848, for I was there and 
saw him in feeble old age. I hear of a local preacher by the 
name of Jacks, and one by the name of McAmis, that were 
among them at an early day. 

Martin Stubblefield, Elijah Sims, John Miller, Richard 
Thompson, and Paul Potter were exhorters. Henry Countz 
and William Chaney married daughters of Martin Stubble- 
field. These two women still live in extreme old age. Wes- 
ley and Moses, sons of John Miller, were exhorters. James 
and William, sons of Richard Thompson, were local preach- 

I wish I could say all I want to say about each of the follow- 
ing, who were connected with the camp meeting movement 
sooner or later : Isaac Rogers, George Rogers, Robert Rogers, 
Benjamin Doughty, Baldwin Harle, Philip Moses, Jesse 
Moore, Robert McClanahan, Charles Harrison, Barnet Smith, 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 285 

William Manson, Sr., William Manson, Jr., Alexander Rog- 
ers, John Burch, Ellis Riggs, Job Garrison, John Walker, 
Solomon Cox, Willis Grantham, and Dr. Josiah Rhoton, a 
local preacher, and others too numerous to mention. In 1856 
I was a pastor on the charge. There were that year about 
fifty families encamped on the ground. The encampment 
went down during the war; there has been no camp meeting 
there since. 1 The Methodists never had a church house in 
the neighborhood until since the war; they now have a good 
Church called Watkins Chapel, in which our recent District 
Conference was held. We have a good society there, and it 
is the only Methodist organization in the immediate neigh- 
borhood. Witt's Foundry is hard by, and is growing up into 
a flourishing little town. 

It may be proper for me here to make a remark in 
relation to the lynching of Anthony Bewley. alluded 
to in the above extract. He was lynched by a mob in 
Texas about the beginning of the War between- the 
States, when the antagonism between the Northern 
abolitionists and Southern slaveholders was at fever 
heat. Bewley was charged with seditious talks to ne- 
groes. I know little of the merits of this unfortunate 
affair. Brownlow, who in the Knoxville Whig was 
at that time opposing secession with all his might, 
published an account of the lynching of Bewley, and 
said in his paper that the Texas mob had served him 
right. I am, however, of opinion that, although the 
provocation was great, it was wholly unjustifiable and 

The Tennessee Conference met at Norvell's Camp 
Ground, in Bedford County, Tenn., November 7, 1-821. 
The camp ground was more properly called Salem, 

x The author attended a camp meeting at that place two or 
three years after the Civil War, but there were not over a 
half dozen campers. 


and was situated near the town of Bellbuckle. Two 
bishops were present, McKendree and Roberts. Thir- 
ty-one preachers responded to the first roll call. Bish- 
op McKendree opened the Conference with the usual 
religious services and a few appropriate remarks. 
Bishop Roberts then took the chair, when Thomas L. 
Douglass was elected Secretary, and the Conference 
proceeded to business. Philip Bruce, a superannu- 
ated member of the Virginia Conference, was present, 
and was made chairman of the committee "to exam- 
ine graduates." This was stretching the principle of 
connectionalism considerably. 

During the year two preachers had swapped cir- 
cuits, one of them paying "boot." The man who paid 
the "boot" was publicly reprimanded. Why the man 
who received the "boot" was not reprimanded, the 
records do not show. A local preacher applied for 
deacon's orders ; "but," says the record, "because he 
gives the people whisky at corn-shuckings, he is not 
elected." This incident serves to remind the reader 
of the fact that from the beginning the Methodist 
Church has always been a temperance society, its 
Discipline has always prohibited drinking usages, and 
in the midst of a lax public sentiment and lax civil 
legislation in regard to the temperance question the 
sentiment of the Methodist Church in relation to the 
use of strong drink was nearly or quite as pure and 
elevated a hundred years ago as it is now. With a 
Cavalier maternity she was as rigid in her ideas of 
morality as the Roundheads themselves; she was a 
strange compound of Episcopal ecclesiasticism and Pu- 
ritanic discipline. 

Holston reported numbers in Society as follows: 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 2S7 

French Broad District. 

Whites. Colored. 

Nollichucky 846 65 

Powell's Valley 434 27 

Tennessee Valley 4^7 81 

Sequatchee Valley 428 9 

Little River 593 84 

Knox 4i6 42 

Knoxville and Greenville 39 -4 

Hiwassee l ®7 

Total 3,36o 332 

Holston District. 

Lee 394 23 

Clinch 46S 39 

Tazewell 420 70 

New River 835 107 

Ashe 163 3 

Holston 760 60 

Abingdon 368 30 

Carter's Valley 661 143 

Total 4,066 475 

Total for districts 7.426 807 

Grand total, 8,233; a net increase of 1,620, a gain of a 
little less than twenty-four and a half per cent. 

The membership in Holston had barely held its own 
for a number of years. The cause had seemed to be 
trembling in the balances ; but during the year just 
past the scales had turned, and a revival influence had 
swept over the two Holston Districts. At the last 
Conference twenty-two preachers were assigned to 
Holston; this year, twenty-nine. 

Twenty-six recruits were taken into the Tennessee 
Conference, whose names are as follows: Rufus Led- 
better, Jonas Belodte, John Seay, Jacob Hearn, Thorn- 


as A. Young, German Baker, Finch Scruggs, James 
G. H. Speer, Abraham Overall, Nathanael R. Gar- 
rett, Absalom Harris, John Raines, John Kelley, John 
Rice, Robert Boyd, Benjamin T. Siddon, Richard 
Neely, Francis R. Cheasham, John Patton, Nathan 
L. Norrell, James Edmiston, William Patton, Thomas 
J. Brown, George Home, David B. Cumming, Peter 

This large influx of preachers into the Conference, 
with its recently abridged territory, was an indication 
of the great prosperity which the Church was now 
realizing in its bounds. 

The Holston appointments were as follows: 

French Broad District. 

John Dever, presiding elder. 

Nollichucky, George Ekin, Absalom Harris ; James Axley, 

Powell's Valley, Richard VV. Morris. 

Tennessee Valley, Lewis W. Marshall, John Rice. 

Sequatchee Valley, John Craig, John Bradfield. 

Little River, David Adams, James Cumming. 

Knox, Samtiel Harwell, John Kelley; J. Cunnyngham, Sup. 

Hiwassee, James Witten. 

Holston District. 

John Tevis, presiding elder. 
Lee, John Paulsaul, David B. Cumming. 
Clinch, Abraham Still. 
Tazewell, Ansel Richardson. 
Ashe, John Kesterson. 

New River, Jesse Green, William P. Kendrick, William 

Abingdon, George W. Morris. 

Holston, William S. Manson, George Horn. 

Carter's Valley, John Bowman, Thomas J. Brown. 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 289 

The Tennessee Conference met at Ebenezer Church, 
in Greene County, Tenn., October 16, 1822. Bishop 
George presided. Thirty-eight members answered 
roll call at the opening of the session. This was a 
good attendance, if we consider the distance some 
of the preachers had to travel on horseback to reach 
the seat of the Conference. Some came from near 
the present site of Memphis, Tenn., and others from 
New River, in Virginia. 

Ebenezer was the name of the chapel in the Earnest 
neighborhood. Being one of the first chapels erected 
in Tennessee, having been the seat of several Confer- 
ences, and being a place often visited by Bishop Asbury, 
it was historic ground, rich in thrilling associations. 

Although this was a country place, the Conference 
was remarkable for the large number of people who 
attended the sessions and took part in the religious 
exercises of the occasion. They came from great dis- 
tances on all sides, saw the preachers, heard their ser- 
mons, and went away with a better opinion of Meth- 
odism and of Methodist preachers than when they 
came. The Earnest and other families of the neigh- 
borhood were of course put to their best to entertain 
the multitudes that came from a distance; but they 
had the means and the liberality which made them 
equal to the emergency. It is true that Conferences 
had been held there before ; but it was when the coun- 
try was sparsely settled, when Methodism was little 
known, and when the meeting of a few preachers in 
Conference attracted but little attention. 1 

Holston reported numbers in Society as follows: 

'McAnally, in "Life of S. Patton," p. 161. 


French Broad District. 

Whites. Colored, 

Nollichucky 1,202 133 

Powell's Valley 513 45 

Tennessee Valley 538 103 

Sequatchee Valley 360 14 

Little River 730 114 

Knox 776 78 

Hiwassee 484 21 

Total 4,603 508 

Holston District. 

Lee 502 39 

Clinch 600 32 

Tazewell 455 55 

Ashe 2^ 13 

New River 862 1 16 

Abingdon 552 92 

Holston 1,059 96 

Carter's Valley 646 133 

Total 4,909 576 

Total for districts 9,512 1,084 

Grand total, 10.596 ; a net increase of 2,363, a gain of more 
than twenty-eight and a half per cent. 

The gain in two years was 3,983, or a gain of more 
than sixty per cent. This was a large increase for 
two districts, when we bear in mind that the country 
was sparsely settled at that day in comparison with 
the present, and that the fertile West was still drawing 
our people away. The prosperity throughout the two 
districts seems to have been general. It was a season 
of revival power in Holston, the depth, intensity, and 
beneficial influence of which cannot be measured by 
the figures indicating the increase in membership. 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 291 

The preachers were so many skillful, enterprising 
officers, seconded by a brave and self-sacrificing offi- 
cial laity, and supported by the rank and file of the 
Church ; and the onsets of their brave little army upon 
the works and ranks of the world, the flesh, and the 
devil were irresistible. 

As might have been expected in this state of af- 
fairs, a large number of preachers knocked at the 
door of the Conference for admission, and the names 
of those admitted, thirty-nine in number, are as fol- 
lows : Willie Ledbetter, Josiah Smith, John H. Holland, 
William Johnson, Francis Owen, Benjamin S. Clardy, 
Joseph Carle, Lorenzo D. Overall, Felix Parker, Lew- 
ellen Jones, Ephraim Jones, John Cannon, James D. 
Harris, William Conn, Isaac W. Sullivan, William 
Mullins, Abner Bbwen, Coleman Harwell, Jr., James 
W. Allen, James Y. Crawford, John W. Witten, Wil- 
liam Cumming, Isaac Lewis, William Hammet, Ar- 
thur W. McClure, Edward T. Peery, Ashley B. Roz- 
zell, Richard F. Garrett, Nicholas T. Scales, John W. 
Camp, Thomas H. Cannon, Thomas J. Neely, Thomas 
Smith, Greenberry Garrett, Ambrose F. Driskill, Bar- 
ton Brown, Josiah Rhoton, John White, John Kerr. 

Of these, ten were immediately transferred to the 
Virginia Conference — viz. : Joseph Carle, Lewellen 
Jones, Ephraim Jones, Felix Parker, William Ham- 
met, John Cannon, John D. Flarris, 1 Thomas H. Can- 
non, John Kerr, and J. W. Witten. 

The pastoral assignments to Holston were : 

a As Mr. Harris appears as remaining on trial in the Ten- 
nessee Conference the next year, it is likely that his transfer 
was revoked. 


French Broad District. 

John Dever, presiding elder. 

Tennessee Valley, Samuel Harwell, Josiah R. Smith. 
Sequatchee Valley, Thomas J. Brown, William Cumming. 
Hiwassee, J. B. Wynn, J. Yv Crawford, T. Smith. 
Little River, James Cumming, Barton Brown, Jesse Cun- 

Knox, R. W. Morris, J. G. Speer. 

Powell's Valley, George Horn, William Johnson. 

Nollichucky, George Ekin, J. Rice, D. B. Cumming. 

Holston District. 

John Tevis, presiding elder. 

Lee, G. W. Morris, Josiah Rhoton. 

Clinch, John Paulsaul. 

Tazewell, William Patton. 

New River, Jesse Green, J. Bowman, A. McClure. 

Ashe, John Bradfield. 

Abingdon, William P. Kendrick. 

Holston, Abraham Still, David Adams. 

Carter's Valley, William S. Manson, Isaac Lewis. 

The reports of the numbers in Society at the Con- 
ference of 1822 indicated, as we have seen, great pros- 
perity on the charges during the year. I am sorry 
that I have not material in hand to enable me to 
mention the work in each circuit in some detail; but 
Air. W. Garrett, in "Methodism in Tennessee," fur- 
nishes an opportunity to mention particularly the suc- 
cess of Ekin and Harris on Nollichucky. The dele- 
terious influence of the slavery discussion was then 
well-nigh past. Ekin, by his skill and prudence in the 
administration of discipline, by his earnest preaching, 
and by his active, kind, pastoral intercourse with the 
people, was successful in putting a quietus on the agi- 
tation, and bringing the Church fully up to the line 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 293 

of active Christian duty. The Nollichucky Circuit 
at that time included the southern part of Greene and 
most of Jefferson, Cocke, and Sevier Counties. Re- 
vival symptoms were exhibited in the early part of 
the year. The attendance upon preaching, class, and 
prayer meetings was good ; the preachers were always 
at their posts and ready to conduct the exercises ; and 
the year was one of great power and prosperity, 
greater than had been for ten years. Camp grounds 
and camp meetings were added, and the pleasure of 
the Lord prospered in our Zion. 

The camp meeting for that year, at Clear Creek, 
was held in September. George Ekin was in charge, 
assisted by Absalom Harris and a corps of local 
preachers. On Thursday night Ekin preached on 
"Lord, let it alone this year," etc. If the text was 
appropriate, so was the sermon. The altar exercises 
of that night were the foreshadowing of what fol- 
lowed. God manifested himself in a powerful man- 
ner in the conviction and conversion of souls. This 
meeting resulted in two hundred and thirty conver- 
sions and accessions to the Church. 

Every part of the circuit partook of this outpouring 
of the Spirit. The camp meetings at Sulphur Spring 
and Stone Dam were a success. The old Societies in 
the circuit "swarmed," so to speak, and new ones 
were organized. Churches were built by some of these 
Societies, but others worshiped in private houses. 
It was common in those days to preach and organize 
Societies in private dwellings. Many such Societies 
became wealthy enough, in the process of years, to 
build neat and commodious chapels. Methodism had 
now become fully established and powerfully in- 


trenched at several points south of the French Broad 
River. For years her operations had been confined 
to the other side of the river by the hostile character 
of the Cherokees. But danger arising from this cause 
had given way ; and the sacramental hosts crossed 
over, with singing and shouting, and planted the 
standard of the gospel not only along the river but 
in the valleys and in the coves of the Smoky and Chil- 
howee Mountains. The revival of 1822 not only 
largely increased the membership of the Church, but 
brought out a large corps of exhorters and local 
preachers. From one learn all. Similar success at- 
tended the labors of the preachers in the other circuits 
of the district. 

About this time camp grounds were established at 
Pine Chapel, in JefTerson County, Middle Creek, in 
Sevier County, and Middle Settlements, in Blount 
County. The "Local Preacher Conferences," as they 
were called, usually met at the last-named camp 

George Locke was admitted into the Tennessee 
Conference in 1818; located, in the Ohio Conference, 
in 1821 ; was readmitted in 1822; transferred to Illi- 
nois Conference in 1825; and died in 1834. 

He was born in Cannonstown, Pa., June 8, 1797. 
His parents were David and Nancy Locke. His 
grandfather and great-grandfather were both clergy- 
men in the Church of England, and his father was 
educated for the Presbyterian ministry, but declining 
to enter this profession, he engaged in teaching. 
George's mother was a lady of superior endowments, 
and a pious member of the Presbyterian Church. The 
family removed to Kentucky in 1798. Without the 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 295 

advantage of an early education, he was in childhood 
and youth remarkable for his industry and studious- 
ness. In his seventeenth year, while a gracious re- 
vival was going on in Shelbyville under the ministry 
of Edward Talbot, a local preacher, he was converted 
to God. Marcus Lindsey was at that time presiding 
elder on Salt River District, and he wished to employ 
young Locke on the Danville and Madison Circuit; 
but as he had been bound as an apprentice to a sad- 
dler, it was necessary to secure the consent of his 
employer, who, however, though a man of the world, 
cheerfully released his apprentice. He was appointed 
to Little River Circuit in 1818, and to Powell's Valley 
in 1819. After this he exercised his itinerant min- 
istry in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. Charles 
Holliday being elected by the General Conference in 
1828 as Agent of the Cincinnati Book Concern, Mr. 
Locke took his place as presiding elder of the Wabash 
District. In the winter of 1831-32, one of the sever- 
est winters known in the West, he was returning 
home after an absence of several weeks. The Wabash 
being blockaded with ice, he and another traveler 
waited at the house of the ferryman three or four 
days; but impatient of longer delay, they determined 
to break a channel in the ice. When within a rod or 
two of the shore, Mr. Locke, through an unfortunate 
movement, fell into the river, and was scarcely res- 
cued from a watery grave; but once out of the water 
he continued the work till the shore was reached. He 
then mounted his horse and rode ten miles to the next 
house, but when he reached it he was frozen to the 
saddle and speechless. He was lifted from his horse 
and kindly cared for ; but the foolish and unnecessary 


exposure gave his system a shock from which it never 
recovered. He lived, however, some two years long- 
er. Mr. Locke was a student to the last, even apply- 
ing himself to his work in his last illness. He not 
only studied theology, but acquired some knowledge 
of Greek and Latin and the higher mathematics. He 
died of consumption. His last words were: "Glory! 
glory! glory!" 1 

Thomas L. Wynn was admitted into the South Car- 
olina Conference in 1818, and died October 9, 1830. 
He was a son of Lemuel and Elizabeth Wynn, and 
was born in Abbeville, S. C, June 27, 1788. He was 
converted at the age of fourteen, but through the in- 
fluence of thoughtless companions he lost his first 
love. In 181 5 he was restored to the joy of pardoned 
sin, and in 1817 was licensed to preach. In 1820 he 
was appointed to Black Mountain Circuit, embracing 
Buncombe and other counties in Western Carolina. 
Having been appointed, during his ministerial career, 
to Savannah, Wilmington, Georgetown, Camden, and 
Charleston, which were stations proper, it is evident 
that he was no ordinary man. Indeed, he possessed 
extraordinary abilities as a preacher. From child- 
hood he was studious and thoughtful ; and although 
his early opportunities for acquiring knowledge were 
limited, his subsequent habits were such as to render 
him respectable in his literary and theological attain- 
ments. He was a fine illustration of what a Meth- 
odist preacher can do to improve his mind, if he will 
only be studious. 2 

^prague's "Annals," pp. 610, 611. 
'"General Minutes," Vol. II., pp. 116, 117. 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 297 

Wiley B. Peck was admitted into the Tennessee 
Conference in 1820, and located in 1826, in the Mis- 
sissippi Conference. His only Holston work was Lit- 
tle River Circuit, to which he was assigned in 1820. 
He traveled in other portions of the Tennessee Con- 
ference, and in 1825 was transferred to the Missouri 
Conference. He was connected with a large and re- 
spectable family in East Tennessee. He was a broth- 
er of Judge Jacob Peck, of Mossy Creek, now Jeffer- 
son City, Tenn. His early advantages as to educa- 
tion and social privileges were better than those of 
most Methodist preachers of that day. For some rea- 
son he became dissatisfied with the Methodist Church, 
united with the Protestant Episcopal Church, and re- 
moved North. The Pecks were, and are, a high-toned, 
honorable people, and not wanting in the sensitiveness 
as to their rights which usually characterizes people 
of that kind. It is likely that with a bishop in the 
driver's seat he chafed in itinerant harness. His go- 
ing to the Episcopal Church was the exercise of a 
right; and if he was happier and more useful in his 
new relations, the change should not be set down to 
his discredit. I knew the Honorable Jacob Peck per- 
sonally. He was for some years one of the Supreme 
Judges of the State of Tennessee, was a decided Meth- 
odist and a devoted friend of education. He was for 
some time the leading trustee of Holston Seminary, 
at New Market, Tenn. He liberally aided in build- 
ing Elizabeth Chapel, at Mossy Creek, Tenn., carrying 
up one corner of the church, which was a log struc- 
ture, with ax in hand, and his family attended that 
church while they lived. Judge Peck was a man of 
erudition, an excellent judge of law, and his law pa- 


pers were terse, vigorous, and sententious. He was 
portly in form, solemn in manner, and dignified in 
deportment. His brother, Looney Peck, was for long 
years a class leader and exhorter in the Mossy Creek 
Church, when these offices meant something. He was 
a plain man, devoted to business and not to literature. 
His public prayers were characterized by an unusual 
fervor. He died at an advanced age, and left behind 
the sweet perfume of an untarnished reputation. Dr. 
John P. Rhoton, a practicing physician, married a 
daughter of Judge Peck and reared an excellent fam- 
ily. He was a brother of Dr. Benjamin Rhoton, of 
Kentucky, and of the Rev. Josiah Rhoton, of the Hol- 
ston Conference. No truer or more loving man ever 
lived. Looney Peck and Dr. Rhoton were truly pil- 
lars of the Mossy' Creek Church. The same can be 
said of Samuel Odell, a plain farmer of Mossy Creek ; 
but a man of deep piety, sterling integrity, and a sup- 
porter of the cause of Christ by a liberal use of his 

Absalom Harris was admitted into the Tennessee 
Conference in 1821, appointed to Nollichucky Circuit, 
and discontinued at the end of the year. So far as 
we know, he served but one year as an itinerant ; but 
his extraordinary zeal and usefulness that year entitle 
him to historic mention. He was under the prudent 
leadership of George Ekin. Mr. Harris was origi- 
nally from North Carolina. He went West a 
thoughtless youth, but was convicted and converted. 
He immediately- entered the ministry under the influ- 
ence of a powerful conviction of duty and a burning 
zeal for the salvation of souls. Having only recently 
embraced religion, he was not posted in the technical- 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 299 

ities of theology; neither did he resort to the tactics 
of a skillful general in feints, marches, countermarch- 
es, and flank movements, but with sword in hand he 
charged upon the ranks of the enemy. There was 
no time, in his estimation, for circumlocution, when 
precious souls were posting the road to perdition. It 
is related that during the Civil War General Bragg 
was showing Gen. Sterling Price his redoubts, and 
asked him if he had ever built any ; Price replied that 
he had not, but that he had taken many of them. 
Harris seems to have fought after the tactics of the 
Missouri hero. He was deeply pious, humble, and 
much addicted to prayer and religious conversation. 
With a strong physical frame capable of much endur- 
ance, a strong voice, distinct enunciation, and good de- 
livery, and untiring efforts to make full proof of his 
ministry, he was truly a "son of thunder" in his day. 
Endowed with unusual physical and moral courage, 
he denounced the sins and follies of the day without 
fear or excessive care in the choice of words, and he 
magnified the saving power of grace, especially as 
exhibited in his case, in appeals powerful and almost 
irresistible. During the year his horse died, but he 
continued to meet his appointments on foot. At the 
Conference held at Ebenezer, Greene County, Tenn., 
he was discontinued at his own request, and returned 
to his father's. Why he located is not known; but 
it is possible that, like Granade, he overworked him- 
self, and found it necessary to the prolongation of 
life to seek the greater quiet of the local relation. He 
was probably an illustration of the adage: "The 
fiercer the storm, the sooner it is over." The quarter- 
horse does his best at the beginning of the race, but 


the horse that starts on a four-mile heat needs to hus- 
band his strength in the beginning and to reserve his 
chef-d'cenvre for the last mile. The regular and sys- 
tematic movement of the planet is better and safer 
than the flash of the 1 ieteor, or the parabolic sweep 
of the comet. Mr. Harris was for many years a lo- 
cal preacher in Georgia. 1 

Jesse Richardson joined the traveling connection in 
1788. The principal part of his service was rendered 
in North and South Carolina and Georgia. His first 
itinerant work was done on New River Circuit, and 
he was twice appointed to Buncombe Circuit (in 1808 
and 1 812), besides being presiding elder for four years 
of Catawba District, South Carolina Conference, 
which embraced the upper French Broad and Black 
Mountain section of North Carolina. Dr. Shipp tells 
the following anecdote of Mr. Richardson, which I 
will repeat in his words : 

He was a good preacher and well fitted for frontier service 
and very successful in winning souls for Christ. While 
traveling the Lincoln Circuit he filled on one occasion his 
appointment for preaching on an exceedingly cold day, and 
afterwards rode through snow, which had fallen to the depth 
of eight inches, till about sunset in order to reach on his 
way to the next appointment the only house where he could 
hope to find shelter before the darkness of night should over- 
take him. When he arrived at the place, he hailed the pro- 
prietor and politely asked the privilege of spending the night 
with him. "No, you "cannot stay," he responded promptly 
and gruffly. "You are one of these lazy Methodist preachers 
going about everywhere through the country who ought to 
be engaged in honest work." Mr. Richardson maintained 

'Hon. W. Garrett, in "Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., 
pp. 500, 501. 

FROM 1819 TO l822. 3OI 

his self-possession, and did not wholly despair of final ac- 
commodation, notwithstanding this rude and insulting rejec- 
tion at the first. He thought the man must have some nat- 
ural feelings of sympathy for the suffering, which patient 
management and tact might evoke. His case, moreover, was 
one of most pressing necessity. He therefore after a little 
renewed his request, setting forth at the same time such con- 
siderations as he thought must move the hardest heart, and 
concluding with an offer to reward him liberally for all the 
trouble and expense that might be incurred by allowing him 
to pass the night under his roof. "No," again responded the 
unfeeling man in ruffian tones, "you shall not pass the thresh- 
old of my house this night ;" and quickly entering, he slammed 
the door in the face of the man of God shivering in the cold. 
As the next house was twelve miles distant, and a high moun- 
tain intervened over which no open road conducted, but only 
a narrow path, now hidden by the snow which was beginning 
to fall afresh, Mr. Richardson had no alternative left him 
but to stay or freeze to death by the way. He therefore de- 
liberately dismounted, tied his horse to a stake, and sat down 
on the doorsill of the house. At length he began to sing one 
of the songs of Zion. The proprietor listened in profound 
silence, his savage nature began to grow tame, his heart 
softened, and he showed a disposition to engage in conver- 
sation. "You seem to be quite merry," said he ; "and you 
must be very cold, too. Would you not like to have a little 
fire?" "Thank you," said the preacher. "It is of all things 
what I most want just now, for I am indeed very cold." 
The fire was brought ; the yard contained a bountiful supply 
of wood, and soon there was a conflagration that made 
Boreas fairly tremble on his throne. This brought out the 
man of the house. "What are you doing out there," said 
he, "burning up all my wood? Put out that fire and come 
into the house." The preacher took him at his word, ex- 
tinguished the fire, and entered. "And now," said he, "my 
horse has had nothing to eat since early this morning. If 
you will let me put him in the stable and feed him, you shall 
be well paid for it." With this request he obstinately refused 
to comply, withholding food from man and beast, as he also 


forbade the offering of prayer for the family before retiring. 
They slept in their beds, and the preacher, wrapped in his 
overcoat, lay down to rest as best he could before the fire. 
The next morning at early dawn, hungry and cold, he threaded 
the uncertain pathway over the mountain to seek refresh- 
ment at the twelve-mile house. 

On another occasion Mr. Richardson lost his horse. The 
spirited animal, from feeling a resentment at the supposed 
neglect of his owner in leaving him bound to a stake all night 
without food in a snowstorm, or from some other motive 
quite satisfactory to himself, made his escape from the stable 
and ran away. Mr. Richardson, going in search of him, 
passed by where two men were clearing land. Being wearied 
by his journey, he sat down on a log to rest and to make 
inquiry of the men concerning the route the horse might have 
taken. One of them abused him with great bitterness of 
speech, threatened to kill him, and with clinched fists struck 
him with such violence as to cause him to fall from his 
seat, and he was perhaps saved from death only by the inter- 
vention of the other man. Having found his horse, it was 
necessary for him the next day to pass by the house of the 
man who had assaulted him with such violence. The man's 
wife hailed him and requested him to stop and come in. 
He told her that her husband had abused him the day before 
and threatened to take his life, and he did not therefore 
deem it safe to comply with the request. She said : "My 
husband is at home, and says you must come in; he is 
anxious to see you. There is no cause for fear." Thus as- 
sured, he went in, and found the man in the deepest mental 
distress and the tears streaming from his eyes. He begged 
the preacher most importunately to pray for him. Said he : 
"I feel that I am a miserable and lost sinner." After some 
words of instruction and encouragement, they kneeled down 
in prayer, and their united petitions ascended to Heaven. 
The man was most earnestly engaged, and after a while was 
powerfully converted. He sprang to his feet and threw his arms 
around Richardson with such violence ( being a man of un- 
common size and strength ) that he came well-nigh finishing 
in love the work which the day before he had begun in wrath. 

FROM l8l9 TO l822. 303 

He exchanged "a noble horse with Richardson, and, taking 
another, went with him to eight appointments before return- 
ing home. 1 

Mr. Richardson was for many years a local preach- 
er, but while local he gave a third of his time to the 
ministry, laboring with his own hands for the support 
of his family. Also for many years he was either 
a supernumerary or a superannuate. In 1823 he re- 
moved to Georgia, and in 1830 was transferred to the 
Georgia Conference in the superannuate relation. He 
died in June, 1837. He said on his deathbed: "I have 
the best truth of the Bible to die on, the divinity of 
Christ. I have faith in this; all is consoling to me 
beyond the tomb." 

"'Methodism in South Carolina," pp. 268-271. 


The Rev. James Axley and His Times. 

James Axley was a rough ashler. A theological 
writer once said that when the Lord called a man 
to preach he did not need a call from the Church, 
and that when the Church called a man to preach he did 
not need a call from the Lord. This I do not be- 
lieve. A call from the Lord is essential, and from 
the Church important. A parallel statement might 
be made to this effect : A man of genius needs no 
education, and an educated man needs no genius. 
Neither is this true. The desire for education and 
the capacity for it are an evidence of genius, or rather 
of talent. No amount of genius will qualify a man for 
great achievements, without at least a degree of edu- 
cation. But a man of genius learns rapidly, and 
with very limited educational opportunities he may 
achieve success. This was the case with Axley. He 
was a child of nature ; but his mental and physical en- 
dowments were such that very limited reading, except 
in the Bible, and limited opportunities to learn, when 
he was young, by association with men and women of 
the best cultivation, sufficed to qualify him for won- 
derful success as an itinerant and local preacher, and 
especially for great force in addressing popular au- 
diences. As he was a man of meager literary attain- 
ments and defective social culture, so also his intel- 
lect was not of the highest order. As a preacher, he 


was neither a Richard Watson nor a John Wesley; 
but with a stalwart frame, a musical and powerful 
voice, a ready utterance, a gift for the command of 
language, an intense conviction of the truth of the 
gospel, an utter abhorrence of sin, an emotional nature 
capable of great depth and intensity of feeling, of in- 
exhaustible humor and pathos, and withal, with the 
bravery of Julius Caesar, he obtained great eminence 
among the pioneer preachers of the West. His ec- 
centricities attracted attention and drew large audi- 
ences ; but they were the least of his elements of useful- 
ness; they were only the outcroppings of a marked 
individuality, perfectly natural. He made great mis- 
takes, I think; but his very mistakes were overruled 
by God to the furtherance of the gospel. I am dis- 
posed to believe that he in a large measure filled the 
niche for which nature and the Holy Ghost designed 

James Axley was admitted into the Western Con- 
ference in 1804, and located in 1822. His charges 
were: 1804, Red River, in Cumberland District, as 
colleague of Miles Harper; 1805, Hockhocking, Ohio 
District; 1806, French Broad; 1807, Opelousas, in 
Louisiana; 1808, Powell's Valley; 1809, Holston; 
1810, Elk; 181 1, presiding elder of Wabash District; 
in 1812 he was appointed presiding elder of Holston 
District, and remained in charge of it four years; he 
was two years in charge of Green River District, 
and three years presiding elder of the French Broad 
District (1818-1821). 

Mr. Axley was a native of Cumberland County, 
Va. He was the oldest son of James and Lemuanna 
Axley. He had two brothers and two sisters. His 


brothers were Pleasant and Robert, the former of 
whom once joined the Conference, traveled a year or 
two, and then served the Church many years as a 
local preacher. The family removed to Kentucky in 
one of the last years of the eighteenth century, and 
settled near what is now the town of Salem. James 
and Pleasant were converted at a meeting held by 
John Page and Jesse Walker about the year 1802. 
After the conversion of the Axleys the people of the 
community resolved to build a church. It was built 
of skelped logs. It was remarkable, or would be in 
this day, for not containing a single nail. The cracks 
were chinked and daubed. The puncheon floor was 
fastened down with wooden pins, and the door was 
made of light split slabs pinned together. There was 
no pulpit and no ceiling; the boards of the roof were 
laid on "ribs," and held there by weight poles. James 
and Pleasant Axley dedicated it by holding a two 
days' meeting in it, and it was christened "Union;" but 
this classical title soon gave way to the Anglo-Saxon 
"Brushy." On one occasion James Axley preached 
there, and during the sermon a large lump of clay 
fell out of the wall above him and dropped squarely 
upon the top of his head. After meeting, several 
friends went with him to his stopping place. One 
of these affected to be very humble, and said he had 
grown lukewarm, and indeed quite cold. He de- 
clared at last that he had become so insensible that 
he "couldn't feel anything." Axley, who thought he 
was assuming a little extra humility, dryly remarked : 
"It's a pity you were not where I was to-day. If you 
had been, you would have felt something." The Rev. 
Adam C. Johnson, M.D., says: "My first acquaintance 


with James Axley was formed by accidentally meet- 
ing with him at times when he was visiting his friends, 
and he and Pleasant came up to camp meetings in 
our vicinity. He was then, I suppose, about thirty- 
five years of age, large, somewhat tall, slightly fleshy ; 
and he had a large, open, serious, handsome face. 
He was a man of great gravity of manners, every 
word and movement being slow, deliberate, and full 
of dignity." 

Mrs. Johnson, mother of Dr. Adam C. Johnson 
and the wife of the Rev. John Johnson, gives the fol- 
lowing recollections of Mr. Axley : 

When Mr. Johnson was sent to Livingston Circuit, in 1816, 
Axley was again our elder. At our first meeting I extended 
my hand and asked if he had forgotten me. "No," said he 
with a half-comic, half-reproachful air; "but you went and 
married off." And I should scarcely have understood the 
reproach, but Sister Wilcox had told me that Axley once 
thought about me; "he told Mr. Wilcox so." In those days 
to think about a girl was as far as a preacher ventured unless 
his mind was made up to marry her. There was no mock 
courtship merely to become acquainted with a girl and form 
a judgment of her. 

We scarcely saw any company at all, except at long inter- 
vals some preacher on his way to quarterly meeting. Of 
these, perhaps none came oftener than our elder, Brother 
Axley, and certainly none could be more welcome than he. 
Always social, kind, and religious, it was always a pleasure 
to be in his company. On one occasion when he came I had 
no help but an idle and careless girl, whose principal busi- 
ness was smoking dried leaves in a cob pipe. We had a pleas- 
ant evening in Axley's company. In the night, however, I 
was attacked with what is commonly known as "weed in the 
breast," and next morning was very sick. I arose and pre- 
pared breakfast, my whole frame burning with fever; and 
how painful was my head ! Our supplies were scanty 


enough, and I sent the girl to milk, that I might sooner have 
breakfast ready and have the milk for the table. After a long 
stay, she came, swinging an empty bucket and laughing im- 
moderately at the cow's having kicked over all the milk. 
Still, I did the best I could and tried to be cheerful. Brother 
Axley, who was a man of tender sympathies, seeing that I 
was unwell, inquired what ailed me ; and on my telling him, 
he said, "Well, Sister Johnson, your time is too hard." Then, 
turning to Mr. Johnson, he added earnestly : "Brother John- 
son, your wife's time here is too hard. It is too hard! If 
I were you, I would not go off and leave her. I'd 
stay with her when she is sick, anyhow." Mr. Johnson 
looked exceedingly sad, so I tried to look as cheerful as 
possible, and told him to go on and trust in Providence, as, 
no doubt, I'd soon be well again. Still, as he bade me good- 
by and started away his voice trembled and I saw tears 
running freely down his face, and Brother Axley could not 
— he never could — resist the contagion of sorrow. 

I was very subject to what we called sick headache, the 
paroxysms greatly affecting my mind, my vision, and, in fact, 
my whole system. One whole day I had suffered from an 
attack, and Mr. Johnson and Brother Axley came in at even- 
ing — Axley, of course, on his way to quarterly meeting. I 
told them how I had been suffering, and remarked that even 
then my voice sounded strange to me, as if it were not I that 
was speaking, and everything I saw seemed to be at an im- 
mense distance from me. Axley seemed to pay no attention 
to this remark, and after an early supper I went to bed. 
Of course, as we had but one room in the house, our guest 
was to occupy it with us, a temporary partition being sup- 
plied by hanging up a sheet between the beds. Mr. Axley 
and Mr. Johnson sat up long, conversing by the fire. Mr. 
Johnson told Mr. Axley that he had to preach the funeral 
sermon of old Brother Trooney, and was requested to take 
the text, "Thy sun shall no more go down," etc. He asked 
Axley for some thoughts upon it. Axley accordingly began, 
and I thought I never in my life heard such a strain as he 
poured forth in his own solemn, slow, and measured cadences 
for about half an hour. He and Mr. Johnson and myself 


all "got happy" as he dwelt upon the blessed release from 
pain and sorrow. "Then," said he, turning to me as I lay — 
"then, Sister Johnson, we won't see things away off after 
we taste the leaves of that tree that's for the healing of the 
nations, and our voices won't seem strange to us unless it's 
from the way they ring with the music of glory." 

Axley had a trait of which I do not remember to have 
seen any notice taken by those writing about him — a fond- 
ness for hunting. When he went home to visit his friends, 
most of his time was spent in pursuit of the deer and other 
wild game with which the forests of Livingston County then 
abounded. He was a successful hunter, and at times he had 
so little use for the flesh of his victims that he gave the 
carcass to any of the neighbors whose cabin stood near where 
the game chanced to fall. 

His fondness for the chase was once the means of bring- 
ing him into imminent danger. Roaming through the bar- 
rens on foot, he discovered about sixty yards from him the 
shoulders of a splendid buck just visible through the tall 
grass. He drew up and fired, shooting away his very last 
ball. The deer, instead of falling, started, raised his head, 
and began to sniff the air to discover his foe. Axley saw 
blood begin to flow the moment he fired ; but when he saw 
that the animal was still on his legs, he instantly dropped, 
and lay as close and still as possible on the ground. In a 
few seconds here came the v enraged buck at full speed di- 
rectly toward him; but, greatly to the relief of the prostrate 
man, he bounded squarely over his body as if it had been a 
log, and was soon beyond the reach of eye or ear in the 
distance. The now disarmed huntsman did not follow, 
though he expressed himself satisfied that he should have 
found venison by doing so. 

In indirect reproofs Axley was inimitable. I heard him 
preach on the prodigal son, and he gave a history of him 
from infancy. It seems to me that there could not be a 
single sin, error, mistake, or folly in the management of 
children which he did not expose in his sketch of that way- 
ward youth. He said not a word about family government, 
but I am sure that there was not a parent in the house who 


did not feel that he was fearfully pommeling him. or her. 
All was so natural that everybody laughed, though every- 
body was hurt. Then everybody cried over the poor fellow's 
misfortunes, and it really seemed as if the house could not 
contain the shouts they raised over his welcome when he re- 
turned to his father's house. 1 

In this connection it may not be out of place to 
mention the incident of Axley's courtship, which took 
place after he had traveled a number of years. He 
was accustomed to make every important interest a 
subject of prayer. He opened his mind to his in- 
tended by letter inclosed in another letter to her 
brother, with whom she resided. He wrote to the 
brother that if he had any objections to the corre- 
spondence with his sister he wished him to burn the 
letter addressed to her, assuring him that that would 
end the matter. The letter, however, was delivered 
to her. It contained a proposal of marriage and a 
notice that he would be there on a given day to re- 
ceive her answer. On the day appointed he came 
and obtained an interview with her. At his sugges- 
tion they kneeled together and prayed for divine di- 
rection. After prayer he wished to know whether she 
consented to the proposed union. She asked for time 
for reflection ; but he insisted on an immediate re- 
sponse, and the result was marriage. 2 

The following is the substance of a letter from 
the Rev. N. H. Lee, D.D., written to Dr. Cunnyng- 
ham March 22, 1876. The account was received from 
James Rutter, Esq., about thirty years previous to 
the date of the letter. Mr. Rutter was then an old 

Newspaper article of Rev. Adam C. Johnson. 

2 Finley's "Sketches of Western Methodism," pp. 236, 237. 


man, at least seventy years of age. He represented 
the father of James Axley as a very strange man in 
his habits and manner of life. He was greatly de- 
voted to hunting wild game and searching for min- 
erals; he spent the greater part of his time in this 
way, remaining at home with his family but little; 
when away from home he lived in a cave the greater 
part of the time. The family was very poor, obscure, 
illiterate, and uncultivated in the extreme, but of good 
moral character. Axley, having no cultivation, intel- 
lectual or social, was, when he began to preach, very 
unpromising as a preacher. It was with much hesi- 
tancy that he was recommended by the class to which 
he belonged to be licensed to preach by the Quarterly 
Conference ; and in the Quarterly Conference there 
was considerable opposition to his licensure, and in 
the Annual Conference to his admission into the trav- 
eling connection. He was, at one time, attending a 
meeting at which was present Rev. Finis Ewing, one 
of the founders of the Cumberland Presbyterian 
Church. He had tried to preach during the meeting, 
and had exercised his gifts in exhortation and prayer. 
His lack of culture was so glaring that he made a 
very unfavorable impression upon Mr. Ewing as to 
the probabilities of his success as a preacher. Mr. 
Ewing deemed it his duty to tell him frankly what he 
thought of his prospects. He accordingly took him 
to one side and said to him that, while he had the 
utmost confidence in the purity of his motives and in 
his piety, he felt it to be his duty to tell him that it 
was his settled opinion that he never could make a 
preacher, and that he ought not any longer to try. 
Axley listened to Mr. Ewing without the slightest evi- 


dence of embarrassment, and replied as follows: "It 
may be, Brother Ewing, as you say, that I will never 
make a preacher; but I am fully persuaded that, if I 
am faithful to God, I will make a first-rate exhorter." 
This story is characteristic of Mr. Axley. He was 
called of God to preach ; he felt it, he knew it, and 
nothing ever deterred him from obeying the call. 
Though rough in his exterior, he was a man of a 
kind heart and refinement of feeling. He was gen- 
erally counted a much more pious man than his con- 
temporary and companion in labor for many years, 
Peter Cartwright. 

An unpublished letter to Dr. Cunnyngham from the 
Rev. Joseph P. Sneed gives some important items in 
regard to Axley. He says that James Axley built, 
partly with his own hands, the first Methodist meet- 
inghouse west of the Mississippi. It was about five 
miles from Harrisonburg, La. He cut pine logs, 
peeled and hauled them ; then persuaded the men of 
the community to assist him in raising the house. 
This was in 1808. Mr. Sneed visited the place in 
1833 or 1834, and saw the remains of the old log 

Axley cherished an inveterate hatred to slavery, and 
often preached against it. While on the Opelousas 
Circuit, in Louisiana, his tirades against slavery 
brought on him not only the censure of the Church, 
but of the community, the most of whom were slave- 
holders. He took the extreme ground that no slave- 
holder could be saved in heaven, or was a proper per- 
son for admission into the Church. His views pre- 
sented from the pulpit made him so unpopular that 
he found it difficult to obtain food or shelter. But he 


continued inexorable till relieved of his charge by the 
presiding elder, who found him in rags and well-nigh 
famished with hunger. 1 

He had a sermon which he preached occasionally, 
and which he called his "Sermon on the Abomina- 
tions." The abominations were Masonry, slavery, 
whisky, tobacco, and the fashions. His text was: 
"Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the 
flesh and spirit," etc. He generally reserved this ser- 
mon for some great popular occasion. On one occa- 
sion, while he was preaching on this subject and de- 
nouncing Freemasonry as a secret order, a gentleman 
in the audience was so offended that he arose to leave 
the congregation, when Axley remarked : "That man 
has, no doubt, had the branding iron slapped to him." 
While he was denouncing the slaveholder another man 
arose to depart, when the preacher said: "Pomp's task 
is about out, and he is going home to give him a new 
one." While he was excoriating the whisky makers 
another man arose to leave, when the speaker re- 
marked : "It's about doubling time, and he is afraid his 
liquor will burn." While he was denouncing the 
drinker another man started, when the preacher has- 
tened the retreat by saying : "Let him go, poor fellow ! 
he is as dry as a powder horn; he wants to wet his 
whistle." He said that he always pitied drunkards, 
who were the injured party. It may be interjected 
here that Axley often shed tears when speaking of 
the helpless, ruined condition of the drunkard. On 
this occasion he had no hard words for the poor victim 
of the drink habit. He next turned to the subject of 

'Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. II., p. 421. 


tobacco, and was especially severe on smokers. 
Smoking at that day was principally confined to wom- 
en. An old lady arose to leave, when the rude orator 
observed: "If you will stop that old woman and ex- 
amine her garments, you will find a dozen holes burned 
in her dress." The old lady sauced back, saying, "I 
wish to God I had my pipe," slapping her empty pock- 
et with her hand, "I would smoke this minute, just for 
spite !" 

On one occasion, while holding a class meeting, Mr. 
Axley, instead of asking a German brother who was 
present and who was an extensive tobacco raiser how 
he was getting along in the divine life, asked him how 
he came on worming tobacco. The German, nothing 
nonplused, replied : "Ah, killen de vorm on der backer, 
very well; ve has kilt many more as dem all." Mr. 
Axley then said : "You are the meanest people in the 
world. It's all tobacco, tobacco, and you do not raise 
corn enough to feed my horse when I come to see 
you." The German, somewhat excited, retorted: 
"Brother Axley, if you vill not deach your horse to 
eat derbacker, dot is not our fault. Deach him dis, 
and den give him blenty." "Never," said the indig- 
nant preacher, "if Bob [the name of his horse] were 
to chew tobacco, I would never speak to him again." 

At another time, while holding a class meeting, he 
found a distiller among the members. Instead of 
catechising him as to his religious condition and pros- 
pects, he inquired of him particularly as to the process 
of making whisky, the price of the corn he bought, 
what he charged for his whisky, the number of hands 
he employed, the value of the slops as a hog feed, the 
quality of the article he manufactured, etc., and wound 


up by pronouncing the business a lucrative one ; but 
not a word was uttered in regard to religion. 

Mr. Axley would not lodge with a man that made 
whisky, if he knew it. After going home with a 
brother who was a distiller one day, he got the scent 
of whisky before he dismounted, remarked, "I smell 
hell," and turned aside to stop with another brother. 

Mr. Axley was as much opposed to the fashions as 
he was to slavery and whisky. He advocated neat- 
ness and cleanliness ; but abominated ribbons, rings, 
ruffles, and new fashions. He said that if God had in- 
tended for women to wear earrings he would have 
made them with holes in their ears. On one occa- 
sion he said that he had understood that some women 
wore finger rings for rheumatism in their wrists, and 
he wondered if they wore rings on their toes for rheu- 
matism in their ankles ! 

He was an extremist on new fashions. He was 
once placed at the door to admit persons to love feast. 
No rings, ribbons, ruffles, or roaches entered that love 
feast that day. By and by, however, a lady came to 
the door with her hands inclosed in a muff. Axley 
had never seen one before, and was unable to decide 
whether or not it was contraband ; but giving the 
lady the benefit of a doubt, he said kindly: "Go in, 
sister, cat skin and all." 

Even as early as Axley's day the children of well- 
to-do Methodists began to follow the fashions as to 
dress. This fact, united to pride and indifference to 
religion, led some of the Methodist and other young 
people to sit upright or merely to bow their heads 
during divine service, while the more religious ele- 
ment were upon their knees in prayer. This gave 


great offense to Mr. Axley. At a certain camp meet 
ing, wishing to bring all the people to their knees, h 
said: "Let us pray. Let all the Christians kneel, am 
all the hypocrites squat!" By squatting he mean 
merely bowing. Of course many who would hav 
bowed knelt rather than seem to fall into the categor; 
of hypocrites. 

We now come to an anecdote which makes Axle 
appear ridiculous ; but as it was somewhat an inde: 
to certain features of his character, candor require 
that it be given. One year Mr. Axley, while presid 
ing elder, had under him Benjamin Edge, an eccen 
trie bachelor. When at Conference the question wa 
asked, "Is there anything against Brother Edge?" th 
presiding elder took everybody by surprise by an 
swering, "Yes," for Edge was a man of irreproach 
able morals, and he and Axley were known to b 
devoted friends. "What is it?" said the Bishop. Mr 
Axley, pointing to Edge, who sat near him, said : "Un 
less you can make Brother Edge quit riding in ; 
gig he had as well locate. He has not visited a sin 
gle member of the Church on his circuit this year tha 
does not live on the big road. He is the poorest ham 
to drive a gig I ever saw. Brother McKendree, whei 
Brother Edge came upon his circuit, he concluded 
all at once, that he must have a gig ; and he was to( 
poor to buy one, and nobody would give him one, an( 
he determined to make him one himself, and he wen 
at it. Brother Winton gave him a pair of hubs ; 
never did find out where he got the tires. Brothe: 
Brumley, a wagon maker, gave him the wood, ok 
Sister Black gave him an armchair, which he fixe( 
up for a seat, and Brother Armbrister gave him i 


side of leather ; so he fitted his wheels, made his shafts, 
stuck his old armchair on them somehow, and then 
went to work to make him a set of harness; and I 
do reckon he is the poorest hand at harness-making 
you ever saw, especially as to the bridle. He did not 
know how to work in leather. But after a while he 
got all ready, put old Ball into his gig, and away he 
went. But if a brother should ask him to go and 
see him, the question was, 'Where do you live?' and 
if the brother did not live on the big road, he would 
not go a step. And that's not all. Pride, you know, 
Brother McKendree, is apt to get a fall ; and so it 
was with him [pointing to Brother Edge]. Some- 
time ago he was going by old Sister Babbit's. She 
is a widow and has several old girls about the house, 
and they are very kind to preachers. He stopped 
before the door and was so proud of his gig that he 
would not get out, and the old woman and the girls 
came out to talk with him, and at length brought out 
a basket of apples and set them in the gig so that he 
might be eating apples while he was talking; and old 
as he is, he loves to talk with women. Thinking that 
Ball might be hungry, the women brought a bundle of 
fodder; but he could not chew it with the bit in his 
mouth, so they took of! the bridle and slipped it over 
his head, away down to the collar. And there he was 
eating apples and cracking jokes with the women, 
and Ball chewing the fodder, when all at once Ball 
took a most violent scare, and away he went. They 
all hallooed 'Whoa!' but- Ball would not heed them, 
and there was no use in pulling at the lines, for the 
bridle was not within four feet of his mouth. Ball 
had not gone far before the basket of apples turned 











over, and scared him, if possible, worse than ever. 
In the next place his old hat flew off and sailed like 
a buzzard; and I am told that no old horse in all 
East Tennessee was ever known to run faster in har- 
ness than old Ball did. He at last struck a stump, 
and the old man got one of the heaviest falls any 
man ever got, and broke his leg; he is lame now." 
Here Axley paused for a moment, and said: "Brother 
McKendree, I don't know what to do. I am afraid 
the old man is getting proud." He then took his seat 
and wept like a child. 

One would have thought that the object of Mr. Ax- 
ley was to get the laugh on his friend ; but the stran- 
gest part of the matter was that he was perfectly sin- 
cere, while the Conference was convulsed with laugh- 
ter. Bascom had raised a window, and run himself 
out of it as far as he could ; others had got down 
between the benches ; while Thomas Stringfield, who 
was doorkeeper, was flat down on the floor. As 
soon as order could be resumed, Edge's character was 
passed without a dissenting vote. 

Axley was a fearless man. At a camp meeting he 
had occasion to reprove some young men who were 
misbehaving, and they determined to give ' him a 
whipping at their first opportunity. One of the num- 
ber asked Mr. Axley to take a walk with him. After 
they had gotten a short distance from the camp ground 
the offended young men began to gather around him, 
and informed him that their object was to give him 
a whipping. "Well, now," said the preacher, "let's 
talk about that a little. I am an old man and alone ; 
you are all young, and there are about a dozen of 
you. Suppose you do whip me? That will be no credit 


to you. For a dozen young men to whip one old man 
will be thought to be a cowardly act, and so it will 
be ; and then it will do me no good, for after you whip 
me I shall do just as I have done. And that's not all: 
I have a great many friends, and they will take up the 
quarrel, and sooner or later every one of you will get 
a whipping. Again, though you may be able to whip 
me (there are so many of you), yet I am very strong, 
and I will almost kill some of you, for I can strike 
like a mule kicking. Now, we had better make it up. 
Boys, I will tell you what I will do: I will promise 
never to reprove you again as long as you behave 
yourselves. Now, isn't that fair ?" They said it was, 
and Axley and the boys were reconciled, and came 
back apparently good friends.* 

The Holston Conference met in Madisonville, Tenn., 
in 1837. Axley, then a local preacher, attended. 
Bishop Morris, who held the Conference, was anxious 
to meet with the man of whom he had heard so much. 
He thus describes an interview with him : When walk- 
ing toward his lodgings he saw a man coming to 
meet him, and was informed that it was Brother Ax- 
ley. He describes him as about five feet eight inches 
high, not corpulent, but very broad and compactly 
built, formed for strength ; his step was firm, his face 
square, complexion dark, eyebrows heavy, appearance 
rugged; dressed in the costume of the fathers, with 
straight-breasted coat, and broad-brimmed hat project- 
ing over a sedate countenance. 

As the Bishop neared the veteran he held out his 

Communication from Dr. A. L. P. Green, in "Methodism 
in Kentucky," Vol. II., pp. 421-432. 


right hand, and the following salutations were ex- 
changed: "How are you, Brother Axley?" 

"Who are you?" 

"My name is Thomas A. Morris." 

Surveying the Bishop from head to foot, Axley re- 
plied: "Upon my word, I think they were hard up 
for bishop timber when they made a bishop of you." 

"That is just what I thought myself, Brother Ax- 

"Why, you look too young for a bishop." 

'As to that, I am old enough to know more and 
do better." 

The two then walked to their lodging place, for 
they had been quartered at the same place. Axley, 
not accustomed to the use of the pen, had kept his 
records in his tenacious memory, and narrated many 
of the events of his life with an uncommon precision 
as to names and dates ; and the Bishop claimed that 
he was never better entertained with the conversation 
of a fellow-sojourner in one week in his life. 

Mr. Axley was accustomed to preach a temperance 
sermon in East Tennessee, where in his day distilling 
was very common. His text was : "Alexander the 
coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him 
according to his works." (2 Tim. iv. 14.) 

The following is an abstract of the discourse: 

"Paul was a traveling preacher, and a bishop, I 
presume, or at least a presiding elder, for he trav- 
eled extensively ; and he had much to do, . not only 
in the government of the Societies, but also in sending 
the preachers here and there and yonder. He was 
zealous, laborious, and would not build on another 
man's foundation, but formed new Societies where 


Christ had not been named, so that from Jerusalem, 
and round about unto Illyricum, he had fully preached 
the gospel of Christ. One new place that he visited 
was very wicked ; Sabbath-breaking, dancing, drink- 
ing, quarreling, fighting, swearing, etc., abounded; 
but the word of the Lord took effect, there was a 
great stir among the people, and many precious souls 
were saved. Among the subjects of that work there 
was a certain noted character, Alexander by name 
and a still maker by trade ; also Hymeneus, who was 
his partner in the business. Paul organized a new so- 
ciety, and appointed Brother Alexander class leader. 
There was a great reformation .in the community. The 
people left off drinking, swearing, fighting, horse- 
racing, dancing, and all their wicked practices. The 
stills were worked up into bells and stew kettles, and 
thus applied to useful purposes. The settlement was 
orderly, the meetings were prosperous, and things 
went well among the people for some time. But one 
year they had a pleasant spring ; there was no late 
frost, and the peach crop hit. I do suppose, brethren, 
that such a crop of peaches was never known before. 
The old folks, children, and pigs ate all they could eat, 
and the sisters dried all they could dry, and yet the 
limbs of the trees were laden with fruit. One Sun- 
day, when the brethren met for worship, they gath- 
ered in groups in the meetinghouse yard, and got to 
talking about their worldly affairs, as you know peo- 
ple sometimes do ; and it is a very bad practice : and 
one said to another: 'Brother, how is the peach crop 
with you this year?' 'O,' replied he, 'you never saw 
the like; the peaches are rotting on the ground under 
the trees. I don't know what to do with them.' 'How 


would it do,' said one, 'to distill them? The peaches 
will go to waste, but the brandy will keep; and it is 
very useful in certain cases, if not used to excess.' 'I 
should like to know,' said a thoughtful brother, 'how 
you are going to make brandy without stills ?' 'There 
will be no trouble about that,' replied one, 'for our 
class leader, Brother Alexander, is a good still maker, 
and Brother Hymeneus is another ; and rather than 
see the fruit go to waste, I am sure they would be 
willing to resume their old trade and manufacture a 
few stills for us/ 

"The next thing heard on the subject was a ham- 
mering in the class leader's shop ; and soon stills were 
smoking in every brother's orchard, and the liquid 
poison was flowing freely. When one called on an- 
other, the bottle was brought out with the remark: 
T wish you to taste my new brandy ; it is pretty good.' 
The guest, after tasting once, was urged to repeat the 
investigation, when, smacking his lips, he replied: 
'Well, it is tolerably good; but I wish you would 
come over and sample mine. I think it is a little 
better than yours.' So they tasted and tasted till 
many of them got about half drunk, and I don't know 
but three-quarters. 

"Then the very devil was raised among them, the 
society was in an uproar, and Paul was sent for to 
come and settle the difficulty. At first it was difficult 
to find sober, disinterested members enough to try the 
guilty parties; but at last he got his committee or- 
ganized, and the first one arraigned was Alexander, 
who pleaded 'Not guilty.' He declared that he had 
not tasted, bought, sold, or distilled a drop of brandy. 
'But,' said Paul, 'you made the stills, or there would 


have been 110 brandy made, and no one would have 
been intoxicated. So he was expelled first, then Hy- 
meneus, and finally the Church was relieved of all still 
makers, distillers, dramsellers, and dram drinkers, 
and peace was once more restored. Paul says, refer- 
ring to the same cases of discipline: 'Holding faith, 
and a good conscience ; which some having put away 
concerning faith have made shipwreck : of whom is 
Hymeneus and Alexander; whom I have delivered 
unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.' 
Of course they new off the handle and joined the 
schismatics." 1 

The Rev. Peter Cartwright, a personal friend of Mr. 
Axley, to whom "a fellow-feeling" made him "won- 
drous kind," speaks kindly of him. He relates an an- 
ecdote of him illustrative of his simplicity and hu- 
mility. When Mr. Axley was on the Hockhocking 
Circuit, he visited his friend Cartwright in Chillicothe 
at the residence of Governor Tiffin. The Governor 
and his amiable wife were delighted with Mr. Axley. 
They were called from the parlor to supper, and 
among other viands they had fried chicken, tea, and 
coffee. Mrs. Tiffin asked Mr. Axley if he would have 
chicken. He answered in the affirmative, saying that 
he was fond of it. She gave him an unjointed leg, 
which he took in his fingers and gnawed the flesh 
from it; then turning round, whistled for the lapdog 
and threw the bone to it. The Governor was excited 
to laughter, but suppressed it. Mrs. Tiffin frowned 
and shook her head at Mr. Cartwright, as much as to 

Sketch of Axley by Bishop Morris in Findley's "Sketches 
of Western Methodism," beginning on p. 231. 


say: "Do not laugh." When Mrs. Tiffin asked Axley 
if he would have tea or coffee, he requested a glass 
of milk, saying : "They have nearly scalded my stom- 
ach with tea and coffee. " The Governor was under 
the necessity of suppressing his risibles again, while 
Mrs. Tiffin quieted Cartwright with a frown and a 
shake of her head. When the preachers retired to 
their bedroom, Cartwright said : "Brother Axley, you 
are the most uncouth creature I ever saw. Will you 
never learn manners?" "What have I done?" said 
Axley. "Done?" said Cartwright, and then repeated 
to him his rude conduct and words at the table. Axley 
burst into tears and said : "Why didn't you tell me bet- 
ter? I didn't know any better." 1 

This anecdote serves to show the disadvantages un- 
der which Mr. Axley labored, owing to his lack of 
early culture and of good society. Here was the 
awkwardness and rudeness of the backwoodsman 
united with unaffected Christian humility and the 
finest feelings. It is, however, due to the memory of 
this remarkable man to say that this was his second 
year in the ministry and that his superior talents 
brought him after this in contact with good society; 
that he was a close observer, learned rapidly, and for- 
got nothing; and that he acquired sufficient polish to 
make him an agreeable visitor to the best families in 
the land. 

The following anecdote has been repeated again 
and again, but it is too good to go out of print. 
Judge Hugh Lawson White, who relates it, was a 
learned and able jurist and a distinguished statesman, 

"'Autobiography of Peter Cartwright," pp. 93-95- 


and for many years a prominent member of the Unit- 
ed States Senate from the State of Tennessee. On a 
certain day a number of lawyers and literary men were 
together in the town of Knoxville, Tenn., and the con- 
versation turned on preachers and preaching. One 
and another had expressed his opinion of this and that 
pulpit orator, when at length Judge White said : 

Well, gentlemen, on this subject each man is of course 
entitled to his own opinion; but I must confess that Father 
Axley brought me to a sense of my evil deeds — at least, a 
portion of them — more effectually than any preacher I ever 
heard. I went up one evening to the Methodist Church. A 
sermon was preached by a clergyman with whom I was not 
acquainted, but Father Axley was in the pulpit. At the close 
of the sermon he arose and said to the congregation : ''I am 
not going to detain you by delivering an exhortation ; I have 
arisen merely to administer a rebuke for improper conduct 
which I have observed here to-night.'' This, of course, 
waked up the assembly, and the stillness was profound while 
Axley stood and looked for several seconds over the con- 
gregation. Then, stretching out his large, long arm, and 
pointing with his finger steadily in a certain direction, he 
said : "Now, I calculate that those two j^oung men who were 
talking in that corner of the house while the brother was 
preaching think that I am going to talk about them. Well, 
it is true it looks very bad when well-dressed young men, 
who you would suppose from their appearance belong to 
some respectable family, come to the house of God and, in- 
stead of reverencing the majesty of Him that dwelleth therein 
or attending to the message of his everlasting love, get 
together in one corner of the house" — his finger all the time 
pointing as steadily and straightly as the aim of a rifleman — 
"and there during the whole solemn service keep talking, 
tittering, laughing, and giggling, thus annoying the minister, 
disturbing the congregation, and sinning against God. I'm 
sorry for the young men. I'm sorry for their parents. I'm 
sorry they have done so to-night. I hope they will never 


do so again. But that's not the thing I was going to talk 
about. It is another matter, so important that I thought it 
would be wrong to suffer the congregation to depart without 
administering a suitable rebuke. Now," said he, stretching 
out his huge arm and pointing in another direction, "perhaps 
that man who was asleep on the bench out there while the 
brother was preaching thinks that I am going to talk about 
him. Well, I must confess it looks very bad for a man to 
come into a worshiping assembly and, instead of taking a 
seat like others and listening to the blessed gospel, carelessly 
stretch himself out on a bench and go to sleep. It is not 
only a proof of great insensibility with regard to the obli- 
gations which we owe to our Creator and Redeemer, but it 
shows a want of gentle breeding. It shows that the poor 
man has been so unfortunate in his bringing up as not to 
have been taught good manners. He doesn't know what is 
polite and respectful in a worshiping assembly among whom 
he comes to mingle. I'm sorry for the poor man. I'm sorry 
for the family to which he belongs. I'm sorry that he did 
not know better. I hope he will never do so again. But 
this is not what I was going to talk about." Thus Father 
Axley went on for some time "boxing the compass," hitting 
a number of persons and' things that he was not going to 
talk about, and hitting hard, till the attention and curiosity 
of the audience was raised to the highest pitch, when finally 
he remarked: "The thing of which I was going to talk was 
chciving tobacco. Now, I do hope that when any gentleman 
comes to church who can't keep from using tobacco during 
the hours of worship he will just take his hat and use it for 
a spit box. You all know we are Methodists. You all know 
that it is our custom to kneel when we pray. Now, any 
gentleman may see in a moment how exceedingly inconven- 
ient it must be for a well-dressed Methodist lady to be com- 
pelled to kneel down in a puddle of tobacco spittle." 

Now, at this time I had' in my mouth an uncommonly large 
quid of tobacco. Axley's singular manner and train of re- 
mark strongly arrested my attention. While he was stirring 
to the right and left, hitting those things that he was not 
going to talk about, my curiosity was busy to find out what 


he could be aiming at. I was chewing and spitting my large 
quid with uncommon rapidity and looking up at the preacher 
to catch every word and every gesture. When at last he 
pounced upon the tobacco, behold ! there I had a great puddle 
of ambeer. I quietly slipped the quid out of my mouth and 
dashed it as far as I could under the seats, resolved never 
again to be found chewing tobacco in a Methodist Church. 1 

Dr. McAnally gives the following personal descrip- 
tion of Mr. Axley : 

In height he was nearly six feet, with a heavy muscular 
frame, large bones, and but little surplus flesh; his chest broad 
and full, features strongly marked, large mouth and nose, 
heavy, projecting, shaggy eyebrows, high and well-turned fore- 
head, dark gray eyes, remarkably keen, head large, hair worn 
very short and smoothed down before. His dress was plain, 
and for many of the last years of his life made of homespun 
material. His coat was cut in the regular old style, and 
always contained much more than what was ordinarily re- 
garded as quantum suificit of cloth. . . . His vest, or 
rather waistcoat, was long, cropped off before, with deep 
pockets, and made to button close up to the chin; ordinary 
pants, with a low-crowned, broad-brimmed hat and coarse, 
strong shoes, completed his outward adornments. Gloves, 
neckerchiefs, and such like appendages were generally dis- 
pensed with; nor was it often, if at all, that he was seen with 
a cane even in his old age. He stood quite erect, and walked 
with a firm, heavy, and rather quick step. The entire ex- 
pression of his countenance, together with all his motions, 
was indicative of great firmness, not to say obstinacy. 

In the pulpit he stood erect and nearly still, gesticulated 
very little, only occasionally turning from side to side that 
he might see all his auditors. If the weather was warm, it 
was very common with him, after opening the service with 
singing and prayer, deliberately to take off his coat, hang it 
in the pulpit, hold his Bible in one hand, thrust the other 

Tindley's "Sketches of Western Methodism," pp. 243-245. 


deep down into his capacious vest pocket, and thus proceed 
with his sermon. Few men, perhaps, ever had a finer voice, 
and never yet have I met with one who could control it bet- 
ter. So completely was it under his command that the man- 
ner in which something was said often affected the hearer 
more than the thing itself. He was a natural orator after 
the best models — those which nature forms. 1 

Dr. McAnally speaks of a notable sermon preached 
on Sunday by Axley at a camp meeting at Cedar 
Springs, about two miles from Athens, Tenn., in the 
autumn of 1833. He brought out his great sermon on 
the abominations. The congregation was very large. 
There were seats enough under the shed to seat com- 
fortably over two thousand people. From a thousand 
to fifteen hundred people were standing around or 
seated on chairs or temporary seats. When he began, 
every idler about the ground, together with the bet- 
ter-disposed people, gathered as closely around the 
place of worship as possible. As he progressed, they 
pressed nearer. In the rear of the congregation 
many arose and stood on the seats. Others farther 
away climbed the posts of the shed and seated them- 
selves on the stays and girders, while beyond them 
many had climbed the high fence that inclosed the 
encampment, a line of which ran near by, and a few, 
Zaccheuslike, climbed into the trees and rested among 
the branches. It was interesting to witness the alter- 
nations of feeling expressed in the countenances of the 
hearers — smiling, weeping, irrepressible laughter, then 
groans, sobs, and cries all over the encampment. 
Calmly and dispassionately he talked. Every eye was 
fixed upon his statuelike appearance, every ear was 

'Dr. McAnally, in "Home Circle," Vol. III. 


attuned to his words. He spoke deliberately and 
plainly. Now elevating his voice, which dismissed its 
fatherly tenderness, he denounced the sins and follies 
of the people in tones of bitter invective. Again his 
tones changed, he pictured the dreadful consequences 
of sin ; the cold chills crept over the hearer, his blood 
curdled in his veins, he was filled with horror. Once 
more the preacher changed his theme and his manner, 
and his voice was as plaintive as the wail of a dying 
babe ; weep you must, you could not avoid it. Yet 
the preacher stood erect and still, and spoke right on. 1 

Dr. McAnally's estimate of Axley as an orator, it 
occurs to me, is overwrought. But the opinion of 
such a man as Mc Anally on any subject is worthy of 
consideration. Here is his estimate : 

I have listened to popular orators among our statesmen, to 
distinguished pleaders at the bar, to the preachers who were 
followed and eagerly heard by enraptured thousands ; but the 
superior of James Axley, in all that constitutes genuine ora- 
tory and true eloquence, I have not heard. 2 

Axley's strong faith, rich experience, and sensitive, 
emotional nature made him a good love feast talker. 
The Rev. Jacob Young, D.D., thus speaks of hearing 
him in a Conference love feast. He discovered in the 
Conference room a large, plain-looking man by the 
name of Axley. At length he arose to his feet and 
said: "I feel that I have something to say." He gave 
a plain, unvarnished narrative of his conviction, con- 
version, and call to the ministry. There was such a 
holy unction attending his words that the talk deeply 

a Dr. McAnally, in "Home Circle," Vol. III. 
2 "Home Circle," Vol. III. 


affected every one in the house, from the bishop down 
to the youngest preachers. McKendree seemed de- 
lighted into raptures. The love feast closed with this 
talk. The preachers and people were too much over- 
come with emotion to continue the speaking exer- 
cises any longer. 1 

Axley, like many of the early preachers^ was a good 
singer. His strong faith, powerful emotional nature, 
and strong, mellow voice, uniting with the natural gift 
of music, made him an excellent leader in congrega- 
tional singing. When he was in the Opelousas coun- 
try he called for lodging at the house of a well-to- 
do widow, after a day's ride without his dinner. 
The lady, judging from his appearance that he was a 
Methodist preacher, positively and rudely refused to 
let him stay. The weather was inclement, and he 
had reason to believe that if he did not obtain lodging 
here he would have to spend the night in the woods 
without food or shelter, or a bed upon which to rest 
his weary limbs. A new-made fire which he saw 
within was tempting to his chilled and weary body. 
He ventured to step in to warm a little. While sitting 
there a feeling of melancholy came over him, and,, turn- 
ing his thoughts heavenward, he began to sing : 

"Peace, troubled soul, thou needest not fear; 

The great Provider still is near : 
Who fed thee last will feed thee still ; 
Be calm and sink into his will." 

A.s he proceeded his faith grew stronger and soared 
above the sorrows of earth. The lady's tears unbid- 
den began to flow ; the grown daughter was melted 

^'Autobiography of Rev. Jacob Young." 


into tears, and all the children wept. When the song 
had ended, the lady informed Mr. Axley that he could 
stay, and ordered a servant to put up his horse, and 
the daughter added with half-suppressed emotion: 
"Feed him well." 

We often hear of "the prayer of faith;" this was 
the song of faith. And I sadly ask, How does the soul- 
less, operatic solo in our modern churches compare 
with the solo Axley sang on that evening? 

Axley was especially characterized by the ferven- 
cy and effectualness of his prayers. I mention one 
instance upon the authority of McAnally who had it 
from eyewitnesses, men of integrity and the strictest 
veracity. It occurred at Muddy Creek Camp Ground, 
some twenty miles below Knoxville. The country 
was suffering from a drought which threatened the 
utter ruin of all the growing crops. A camp meeting 
was in progress, and at eleven o'clock on Sunday 
Axley entered the pulpit with a heavy, troubled coun- 
tenance, opened the services, and in the prayer, which 
was long and earnest, he pleaded for rain. He arose 
from his knees with a still clouded countenance ; and 
instead of announcing his text, he sang a stanza or 
two and called the congregation to their knees again, 
and again pleaded most earnestly for rain. He arose 
from his knees a second time with his countenance 
still shaded, and the shade was apparently deeper than 
before. He seemed to hesitate; but after a few sec- 
onds he sang the third time and called the congre- 
gation to prayer. He arose from the third prayer 
with a cheerful and even joyous countenance. He 
announced his text, and went through the sermon 
without the slightest allusion to his course in the open- 


ing exercises. It was afterwards remarked by some 
that his plea for rain in the third prayer was entirely 
different from the pleas of the first and second. In 
the last the plea was for infants and animals that had 
not sinned. Now, call it a coincidence, or call it 
what you may, the fact remains that only a few hours 
afterwards and during the afternoon there fell a 
copious shower. 

Agnostics and ritualistic Christians will pronounce 
this an accidental coincidence ; but who can say that 
that rain did not come in answer to Axley's fervent 
prayer? Why should we believe the story of Elijah 
bringing rain, and yet reject the story of Axley? If 
God does not hear prayer for temporal good, then the 
Lord's Prayer is misleading and the whole Bible is a 
collection of cunningly devised fables. Why should 
a righteous man under the Jewish dispensation have 
more power with God than a righteous man under 
the higher and more powerful dispensation of Chris- 
tianity P 1 

Mr. Axley located to enable him to rear and edu- 
cate his family ; but in his local relation, although he 
addicted himself to common labor, he never lost the 
evangelical spirit. But it is likely that he would have 
fared better financially if he had continued in the 
regular work, for he became financially embarrassed 
by indorsing for a merchant who afterwards failed 
in business. 

Axley was of the same type of preachers with Peter 
Cartwright, James Dannelly, Simon Peter Richardson, 
and Sam Jones. Usually evangelical in style, he oc- 

^ewspaper article of Dr. McAnally. 


casionally cut and slashed. His opposition to slavery 
may have done good in the long run, but at the time 
it prejudiced many good people against the Methodist 
Church and deterred many from joining it. On that 
question he was narrow and fanatical. The liquor 
traffic was the monster evil of his day, as it is of ours, 
but his denunciations of it were not always well tem- 
pered. Violence always weakens a good cause. Among 
those who fight the evils of the day the noisiest are 
not always the most useful. The horse that pulls with 
a jerk or prances carries less of the load than the 
gentle and steady beast that keeps his traces in con- 
stant tension. Violent denunciation excites and irri- 
tates, but its reaction is not favorable to the cause of 
morals and religion. Opposition to gaudy and ex- 
travagant dress among Church members, especially 
in their atendance on divine service, is right. Paul's 
opinion and advice on that subject are well worthy of 
prayerful consideration. But to class dress with rev- 
elry, drunkenness, the liquor traffic, gambling, etc., as 
some have done, is a great mistake. Axley's mistake 
was not so much in opposing ostentation and extrav- 
agance in dress as in condemning certain specified 
forms of it — that is to say. in opposing the fashions. 
It did not occur to him that in adhering to old fash- 
ions against the new he was adhering to fashions that 
were once new, and just as objectionable in their 
dav, in the eyes of Puritanic Christians, as the new 
were to him in his day. Without any intention to 
apologize for meretricious ornamentation, which is 
really in bad taste, I hesitate not to say that the 
Church always makes a mistake when she attempts 
to become the milliner and mantuamaker of her mem- 


bers. Neatness and plainness are always commend- 
able, but the love of adornment is perfectly normal. 
It is right that we should make ourselves in person 
as agreeable to our friends as possible; for God has 
authorized ornament by placing around us a beautiful 
universe, paving the heavens with azure and strewing 
the earth with flowers and loveliness. 

I am of opinion that the use of tobacco is a great 
physical evil ; that it probably is doing more to shorten 
human life than alcohol itself. It is also indirectly a 
moral evil. But a cool and dispassionate presentation 
to the public of its evils will do more to deter men 
and women from the tobacco habit than such tirades 
as Mr. Axley was accustomed to perpetrate. 

It is highly improper to indulge in offensive per- 
sonalities in the pulpit, since the preacher has the 
floor, and a reply might be construed into a disturb- 
ance of public worship. Firing upon offended parties 
retiring from the audience, as related in one of the 
foregoing anecdotes, was neither just nor polite. But 
Axley's faults were only spots on the sun. 

While traveling in this section he rode one day 
along the main street of the town of Dandridge, and 
as soon as he came opposite to a tavern in which 
there was a barroom he roared like a lion, yelling: 
"Hell fire! hell fire! hell fire!" This showed his 
earnestness and courage, but it was possibly not the 
best way to remedy the evil. 

I have passed the residence, some two miles south 
of Sweetwater, Tenn., where Mr. Axley spent his 
last years. It was at that time a plain farm resi- 
dence, showing signs of age and decay. The farm 
lay in a beautiful section, and from what I could see 


of it I judge that it abundantly remunerated the toil 
of the preacher-farmer and his sons. 

The Rev. James Sewell, a local preacher, gave me 
the following items of Mr. Axley : He lived within 
three miles of Axley, and was with him in his last 
illness. Axley was like nobody else. He had some 
severe sermons on drunkenness. A drunkard, T. H., 
had dropped into the neighborhood. After hearing 
a severe sermon on drunkenness from Mr. Axley, he 
called at his house. Mr. Axley invited him to come 
in, but he declined, saying that he had come to whip 
him. Axley urged him to come in and take his seat, 
as he proposed praying before they engaged in the 
fight. He read, knelt, and prayed, and prayed espe- 
cially for H. When the prayer was ended, H. arose 
weeping and trembling, and left. That was the end 
of the fight. 

Axle\- had a neighbor by the name of Sneed, who be- 
came a Baptist preacher, but at the same time ran a 
distillery. Axley, Sneed, and .Sewell were holding a 
meeting together at a schoolhouse. One morning 
Axley got up early and went before breakfast to 
Sneed's stillhouse, where he was at work. He called 
him out and said: "Robert, I don't understand you; 
yesterday you preached Jesus Christ and him cruci- 
fied, and now you are distilling death and damnation 
and selling it to your neighbors." Sneed became an- 
gry, but Axley rode off. Sneed reflected that getting 
angry would do no good, and said to himself: "This 
business does not look well in a minister; I'll quit it, 
I can live without it." He abandoned the business, 
and always gave Axley the credit for his reformation. 

Mr. Axley's final illness lasted about three weeks. 


He suffered much, but bore his sufferings with Chris- 
tian fortitude. When asked by a member of the 
Church if it was convenient to have prayer with him, 
he replied: "It is always convenient to have prayer 
in my house." Just before he took his flight he called 
first his wife and then his children, one by one, and, 
laying his hands on their heads, imparted to them his 
dying blessing, asking each one to meet him in heaven. 
He also made the same request of his friends who 
were present, and in a few moments dismissed his 
spirit. He died February 23, 1838. 

From 1822 to 1824. — Sketches of Preachers. 

The Tennessee Conference met in Huntsville, Ala., 
November 26, 1823. Bishops McKendree and George 
were both present, and presided alternately. Thomas 
L. Douglass was elected Secretary, and Robert Paine 
Assistant Secretary. 

At this Conference the following delegates were 
elected to the General Conference to meet in Balti- 
more May 1, 1824: Hartwell H. Brown, Thomas 
Stringfield, William McMahon, Robert Paine, George 
Ekin, J. W. Kilpatrick, John Tevis, Thomas L. 
Douglass, and Thomas Maddin. These were all pres- 
ent at the opening of the General Conference, and 
bore their part in the business of the body. There 
had been a gratifying increase in the Holston coun- 
try. The numbers in Society were reported as fol- 

Knoxville District. 

Whites. Colored. 

Tennessee Valley 538 103 

Sequatchee Valley 435 21 

Hiwassee ....; 455 T 7 

Tellico 509 32 

Little River 840 134 

Knox 873 100 

Powell's Valley 534 37 

Nollichucky 1,636 172 

5,820 616 


FROM l822 TO 1824. 339 

Holston District, 

Lee 716 56 

Clinch 646 61 

Tazewell 520 61 

New River 884 108 

Ashe 230 15 

Abingdon 1,069 154 

Holston 1 .560 202 

Carter's Valley. 800 151 

6,425 808 

Total 1 -2.-245 1,424 

Grand total, 13,669, an increase of 3,073, a large majority 
of the increase of the entire Conference. 

The various charges of the Tennessee Conference re- 
ported a net increase in the membership of 4,343 ; of 
this increase, 81 were colored. The aggregate 
membership of the Conference was 25,509, of which 
2,982 were colored. 

These figures indicate that the labors of the min- 
istry, traveling and local, in Holston had been 
crowned with great success; indeed, at the camp and 
quarterly meetings there had been a succession of 
Pentecosts — a revival wave of great power. The 
additions to the Church do not adequately measure 
the amount of good done. Properly to estimate this, 
it would be necessary to take into the account the 
permanent toning up of the spirituality of the mem- 
bership, the fresh impulse given to the piety of other 
Churches, the conversion of hundreds who connected 
themselves with other denominations, and the moral 
and spiritual uplifting of outsiders — indeed, the gen- 
eral renovation and purification of society throughout 
the Holston section, Most of the men who were ap- 


pointed to the Holston charges in 1822 are unknown 
to fame ; but they have deserts far exceeding those 
of the military heroes of the nation, whose praises will 
live in song wherever the English language is spoken. 

In a previous chapter we met with the name of Mrs. 
Millie Thomasson in connection with the Stone Dam 
Society and Camp Ground. We hear of this good 
woman again in 1822 in connection with the Chestua 
Society. This and the preceding year, as we have 
seen, were years of great religious prosperity in Hol- 
ston, and God was enlarging the borders of Meth- 
odism ; new Societies were springing up and new camp 
grounds were being established. 

Mr. John Thomasson, in a letter to Dr. Cunnyng- 
ham, says : 

In 1822 Millie Thomasson and six children moved to 
Monroe County, Tenn., and all joined by letter the Chestua 
Society, then in Hiwassee Circuit, James Witten being preach- 
er in charge. In 1823, James Y. Crawford being preacher in 
charge, Chestua camp ground was erected and a camp meet- 
ing held ; and, although the country was sparsely settled, there 
were some forty conversions and about as many accessions 
to the Church. At that time Hiwassee Circuit embraced all 
the territory known as the Hiwassee purchase. The preacher 
made a round in four weeks, riding in that time some five 
hundred miles, preaching from twenty-hye to forty sermons 
each round. The camp ground square was soon occupied 
with camps built close together, and there were several on the 
outside beginning a second row. Millie Thomasson, my 
mother, was a widow for more than forty years, and always 
camped, sick or well. One year she was so low in health 
that the children thought she could not be hauled to the 
camp ground, but she said : "Yes, boys, you can prepare a 
sled and take me; and if I die, I will be already at the grave- 
yard, and I would just as soon die there as anywhere.'' We 
took her and she got better, and lived fifteen years after- 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 341 

ards. She finally died at the age of seventy-eight, and had 
triumphant death. 

Religion is not only good for the soul, but, by the 
leerfulness and hopefulness which it inspires, it is 
Dod also for the body. The serenity which it gives 
id the joy which it imparts cannot but exert a salutary 
.fluence over the nervous and vascular systems, and 
nd to prolong life. Grief and melancholy can kill, 
id joy and cheerfulness can keep alive. This short 
id simple story of Millie Thomasson, one of the 
mnders of Methodism in central and lower East Ten- 
issee, is an illustration of the power of the grace 
: God to sustain and comfort a human soul under the 
trdens and amid the trials of life. 

At the Conference of 1823 the following were ad- 
itted on trial: James J. Trott, James McFerrin, 
homas A.. Strain, Isaac Easterly, Robert Kirkpat- 
ck, Francis A. Garrett, Elbert F. Sevier, Creed Ful- 
»n, John Dye, Jesse F. Bunker, Felix Parker. Lewis 
arrett, Sr., and Joshua W. Kirkpatrick were read- 

The appointments made for the Holston charges 
lis year (1823) were: 

Knoxville District. 

Thomas Stringfield, presiding elder. 

Tennessee Valley, Jacob Hearn, Isaac Easterly. 

Sequatchee Valley, Abraham Overall, Robert Kirkpatrick. 

Hiwassee, James dimming, Felix Parker. 

Tellico, David B. dimming, James D. Harris. 

Little River, George Ekin, James G. H. Speer. 

Knox, Thomas Maddin, Francis Owen. 

Powell's Valley, John Bowman, Thomas J. Brown. 

Newport, Josiah Daughtry, Jesse dinnyngham. 

Green, William S. Manson, James Y. Crawford. 


Holston District. 

John Tevis, presiding elder. 
Lee, John Bradfield, William dimming. 
Clinch, William Patton. 
Tazewell, Abram Still. 

New River, Lewis S. Marshall, Isaac Lewis, Josiah R. 

Ashe, John Craig. 

Abingdon, William P. Kendrick, E. F- Sevier. 
Holston, David Adams, Josiah Rhoton. 
Carter's Valley, John Kelley, Creed Fulton. 
Hawkins, Edward T. Peery. 

The General Conference of 1824 divided the Ten- 
nessee Conference, setting off the Holston Conference, 
which was made to include all that part of the State 
of Tennessee lying east of the Cumberland Mountains, 
and that part of Virginia and North Carolina em- 
braced in Holston District; and also Black Mountain 
and French Broad Circuits, previously belonging to 
the South Carolina Conference. 

McFerrin says: "This was a large territory, em- 
bracing many beautiful valleys and lofty mountains. 
The lands were fertile, and the country romantic and 
healthy. The rivers and smaller water courses were 
clear as crystal, while the thick forests everywhere, 
with the ever-varying scenery, made the country 
grand." 1 

The division left to the Tennessee Conference a 
membership of 11,828 white and 1,749 colored mem- 
bers, and gave to the Holston Conference a member- 
ship of 13,443 white and 1,491 colored members. The 
aggregates of the two Conferences as reported in 1824 

^'Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. III., p. 274. 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 343 

were: Whites, 25,271; colored, 3,240; total, 28,511. 
In the list of whites were included 189 Indians, not 
reported separately. This was an increase in the old 
Tennessee Conference of 3,002. Sixty-three preach- 
ers fell to the Tennessee Conference, and forty-one to 
the Holston Conference. 

It is only in the last quarter of a century that the 
Methodist Church has opened its eyes to the immense 
influence of woman in the spread of the gospel. Wom- 
en have always constituted the bulk of the Christian 
Church, certainly always its decidedly more loyal 
and spiritual element ; but woman's rights and capa- 
bilities have up to a very recent date been largely ig- 
nored. An editorial in The Western Arminian and 
Christian Instructor of February, 1826, correctly ex- 
pressed the sentiments of the Church in relation to 
the rights and duties of women at that time, and, in- 
deed, for a long time afterwards. I take the follow- 
ing excerpt from an editorial in that issue in relation 
to the "Wesleyan Female Society of Jonesboro, Ten- 
nessee," which was organized in the summer of 1824, 
a few months prior to the organization of the Holston 
Conference. It reads as follows : 

How worthy an object of benevolence does this society 
contemplate ! — to extend the good cause of the Divine Re- 
deemer, that religion to which we are indebted for our eleva- 
tion above the red men of the forest. The lovely and retiring 
modesty of the female sex, together with their delicate struc- 
ture, forbids that they should ever rival the hardy sons of 
Levi in the gross services of the altar. The kind Author of 
our being never designed them to "go out into the highways 
and hedges" in search of lost sinners, to cross the everlasting 
mountains and traverse the dreary waste in order to pro- 
claim "glad tidings of good things to all people." And yet 


they may be abundantly useful— yea, they are greatly so. 
They not only welcome weary pilgrims to their friendly man- 
sions and hospitable cottages ; but they warm, clothe, and feed 
them with the best they have. 

These words were penned by the father of the good 
woman who now conducts the Woman's Missionary 
Advocate of the M. E. Church, South — a periodical 
that represents a woman's organization which is not 
satisfied with woman's work in the home, but which 
is carrying on missionary operations on a large scale, 
not only addressing public audiences, but raising 
funds and sending women missionaries into the high- 
ways and hedges of both Christendom and heathen- 

This Jonesboro Society was a pulsation of that irre- 
pressible vitality which Methodism had awakened in 
American womanhood, and a prophecy of the work 
of woman for woman and for the world, which we now 
witness with so much admiration and satisfaction. 

The society was composed altogether of females, 
and its object was to raise a fund to be appropria- 
ted exclusively toward the support of the gospel in 
the Holston Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. The regular meetings of the society were to 
be held on the first Mondays in January, April, July, 
and October in each year. The constitution — a well- 
drafted instrument — is before me. Accordingly at 
the second session of the Conference, which met in 
Jonesboro in October, 1825, the society turned over 
to the Conference $40.25 to assist in supplying the 
deficiencies in the salaries of the preachers. 

This may properly be considered the birth of the 
woman's movement in Southern Methodism, although 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 345 

it had a long and helpless infancy. The secretary of 
the society was Mrs. Harriet Ross. 

The first session of the Holston Conference began 
at Knoxville, Tenn., November 27, 1824. Bishop 
Roberts presided, and John Tevis was chosen secre- 
tary. At this Conference the following were admitted 
on trial: William T. Senter, David Fleming, John S. 
Henley, Branch H. Merrimon, Moses E. Kerr, P. 
Cumming, L. Jones, Robert J. Wilson, Goodson Mc- 
Daniel. Located, Lewis S. Marshall. Transferred 
to the Kentucky Conference, John Tevis. 

The appointments were as follows : 

Abingdon District. 

David Adams, presiding elder. 

Lee, A. Still, B. H. Merrimon. 

Clinch, John Craig, John S. Henley. 

Tazewell, E. T. Peery. 

Giles, John Kelley, P. Cumming. 

New Rive*-, J. R. Rhoton, William C. Cumming. 

Ashe, James D. Harris. 

Abingdon, William Patton, Isaac Lewis. 

Blountville, James G. H. Speer, Creed Fulton. 

Holston, Josiah Daughtry, David Fleming. 

Knoxville District. 

Thomas Stringfield, presiding elder. 

Knox, George Home, E. F. Sevier. 

Powell's Valley, J. R. Smith. 

Cumberland Mountain, James Y. Crawford. 

Kingston, L. Jones. 

Washington, John Bowman, Goodson McDanieh 

Sequatchee, John Bradfield. 

Tellico, A. Overall, Robert Kirkpatrick. 

Hiwassee, William T. Senter. 

Upper Cherokee Mission, to be supplied. 


French Broad District. 
Jesse Cumryngham, presiding elder. 
Carter's Valley, William P. Kendrick, M. E. Kerr. 
Hawkins, Jacob Hearn. 
Greene, W. S. Manson, F. A. Owen. 
Newport, James dimming, Robert J. Wilson. 
French Broad, D. B. dimming. 
Black Mountain, Isaac Easterly. 
Little River, George Ekin. 
Maryville, Thomas J. Brown. 

The fact that the first session of the Holston Con- 
ference was held in Knoxville naturally induces a 
retrospect. Knoxville has become an important, and, 
indeed the chief, center of Holston Methodism, and I 
am sure our readers will not object to a scrap of his- 
tory as to its founding. 

The first number of the first newspaper published 
within the borders of the State of Tennessee was 
issued at Rogersville November 5, 1791. The printer, 
publisher, and editor was George Roulstone. Though 
first published at Rogersville, the paper was entitled 
The Knoxville Gazette, as it was intended that it 
should be published at Knoxville as soon as that town 
should be laid off, for Governor Blount had deter- 
mined to fix the seat of government there. In Feb- 
ruary of the next year Knoxville was laid off by Col. 
James White, and the Gazette was removed to it soon 
afterwards. Ramsey, writing in 1852, says: "It was 
issued from a cabin erected on the lot lately owned by 
Mr. Samuel Bell, on Gay Street." The Gazette was 
a small sheet, but as the pioneer newspaper of the 
State it engaged an interest to which its intrinsic 
merit would not entitle it. The publisher was a man 
of more than ordinary capacity. He seldom indulged 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 347 

in abstractions, but confined himself to chronicling 
the happenings of the day. 1 

Colonel White laid off the town so as to consist of 
the necessary streets and sixty-four lots. The town 
was named in honor of Maj. Gen. Henry Knox, at 
that time Secretary of War, under President Wash- 
ington. Several buildings were erected in 1792. The 
infant city was at that time within . the bounds of 
Hawkins County. But Knox County was established 
by an ordinance of Governor Blount in 1792. The 
first courthouse was built of squared logs let down 
close together. It was a small building, not more 
than fourteen feet square. 

Knoxville was at that time the seat of the terri- 
torial government, and so continued till the territory 
became a State. Knoxville became the seat of gov- 
ernment of the State of Tennessee, and so continued 
to be for many years after. 

Its successors were Kingston, Murfreesboro, and 
Nashville; and in 18 17 it again became the seat of 
government, but not permanently. The flood of emi- 
gration soon carried the center of population beyond 
the Cumberland Mountains, and with it the seat of 
government. Knoxville lost the scepter, but not her 
ancient honors. Here Soollecuttah, Kunoskeskie, 
Nemtooyah, Chuquilatague, Enolchi, Talohtuski, and 
other chieftains of the Cherokee Nation met Govern- 
or Blount in council, smoked the pipe of peace, and 
formed the treaty of Holston ; here the pious White, 
the founder of Knoxville, pitched his tent in the wil- 
derness, lived his life of patriarchal simplicity and 

Semicentennial address by Rev. T. W. Humes. 


unostentatious usefulness, and here he died. Here 
the infant territorial government was cradled, and 
nurtured in its youth by the paternal care of Blount, 
of Anderson, and of Campbell. Here, too, the sages 
of 1794 met and made laws. Here, too, was born the 
infant commonwealth that has since grown into a 
great State — Tennessee. 1 

The first church in Knoxville was erected in 1812, 
and was of brick. It was a Presbyterian meeting- 
house. What for many years has been known as the 
First Presbyterian Church was erected on the site of 
"the old brick meetinghouse," and under the admin- 
istration of the Rev. James Park, D.D., it was re- 
cently supplanted, on the same lot, by the present 
large and beautiful structure. 

Blount College was chartered by the Territorial 
Legislature in. 1794, and stood north of the town as 
it then was; and in 1808 the Legislature of Tennes- 
see chartered East Tennessee College, and Blount Col- 
lege was merged into it. East Tennessee College was 
first built on the land of the block in which the First 
Baptist Church now stands. It was a two-story 
frame structure, near the northwest corner of the 
block, and was used until 1827, when the old central 
building on University Hill was finished, and the 
school was moved into it. In 1840 East Tennessee 
College became East Tennessee University, and in 
1879 it became the University of Tennessee. Trius 
it will be seen that Blount College was the embryo 
of the present State University. - 

Ramsey's "Annals of Tennessee," pp. 638, 639. 
2 Letter of Rev. James Park, D.D. 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 349 

Among the first settlers of Knoxville were James 
White, James King, Mr. McLemee, Governor Blount, 
Hugh Dunlap, Samuel and Nathan Cowan, Joseph 
Greer, John Chisholm, Mr. Stone, Capt. John Cro- 
zier, and Major Arthur Crozier. 1 

In 1824 Knoxville did not rise above the dignity 
of a village. The writer stayed a night in Knoxville 
in the year 1851, at the hospitable residence of Samuel 
Patton, D.D. The bulk of the town was then what 
is now the old part of East Knoxville, and the re- 
mainder lay along Front, Main, and Cumberland 
Streets. West and North Knoxville did not exist. 
Even during the War between the States the town 
scarcely rose above eight thousand inhabitants ; it 
now numbers seventy-five thousand. It has put on 
city airs, and is destined to become a city of great im- 
portance. It is a Methodist center, and the Methodists 
have there a number of pastoral charges, with a large 
membership of wealthy, refined, and deeply pious 

In some reminiscences contributed to the Meth- 
odist Advocate in 1887,, the Rev. William C. Graves 
says: "I recollect well when the first session of the 
Annual Conference was held. I was then about nine 
years old; it was late in November, 1824. The ses- 
sion was held in the red house in East Knoxville. 
Either then or before or afterwards I formed the 
acquaintance of nearly all the preachers that were 
present on that occasion. Several of them were about 
father's house during the session." 

The "red house" spoken of by Mr. Graves was on 

'"Annals of Tennessee," pp. 557-560. 


the south side of Main Street, opposite the Methodist 
church on the hill in East Knoxville, and was the 
property of the Hon. Hugh Lawson White, who kindly 
tendered it to the Conference for its sessions. 

While dwelling upon events in connection with the 
town of Knoxville I cannot forbear to copy from the 
Knoxville Daily Sentinel of October 30, 1905, a brief 
notice of a case of longevity which does honor to the 
climate of East Tennessee and the health-inspiring 
conditions that prevailed more than a hundred years 
ago where now the growing city of Knoxville is en- 
larging its borders and building its palaces : 

To be older than the United States government, to have 
been a toddling infant when Washington was inaugurated 
President in the eighteenth century and to walk erect in full 
possession of her faculties under Roosevelt's administration 
in the twentieth century, to have witnessed all the stirring 
events of a wonder-working century, to have survived out 
of the old time into ours, has been the good fortune of Mrs. 
Mary Ramsey Woods, of Hillsboro, Oregon, who is probably 
the oldest woman in the world. 

In her one hundred and nineteenth year Mrs. Woods is 
still quite active. Daily she walks about the garden of her 
daughter's home with whom she lives, and sits upon the 
porch in sunny weather to converse with visitors. She keeps 
well posted on the events of the day and maintains a lively 
interest in politics. 

Mrs. Woods was born on May 20, 1787, at Knoxville, 
Tenn., the year that the Northwest Territory was organized 
and two years before the United States constitution went 
into effect. Her maiden name was Ramsey, and her father 
burned the brick and built the first brick structure in Knox- 

At an early age Mary Ramsey married Jacob Lemons, and 
was left a widow seventy-three years ago, at the time that 
Andrew Jackson was nearing the end of his first term as 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 35I 

President. As a young matron, she distinctly remembers the 
War of 1812, when her father strapped his blankets across 
his shoulders, took down his old rifle, and fought the British 
until the close of the struggle. 

After the death of her husband, she accompanied her 
daughter, Mrs. C. B. Southworth, and her husband across 
the plains to Oregon, arriving in Hillsboro in 1853. She was 
then sixty-six years old, but rode a bay mare the entire dis- 
tance from Tennessee, her daughter and her husband driving 
an ox team. 

Soon after arriving in Hillsboro Mrs. Lemons married 
John Woods, with whom she lived happily for many years. 
At Hillsboro she built the first hotel, which occupied the site 
of the opera house now being constructed. The couple ran 
the hotel until forty years ago, when her daughter, Mrs. C. 
B. Reynolds, formerly Mrs. Southworth and her only sur- 
viving child, succeeded her in its management. 

Mrs. Woods had four children by her first husband: Mary 
J. Lemons, who died in Tennessee two years ago at the 
age of ninety-eight ; Isaac Lemons, who died in Kansas City, 
Mo., forty years ago ; Nancy E. Bullock, who died at Hills- 
boro thirty-eight years ago ; Mrs. C. B. Reynolds, who is 
now living in Hillsboro, and, while seventy-five years of age, 
is devoting her life to the care of' her aged parent. 

Mrs. Woods weighs one hundred and thirty pounds, 
dresses and cares for herself, and walks about the yard and 
the house. She is hard of hearing and blind in one eye, but 
otherwise hale and hearty. She is able to thread a needle 
and does much sewing. About six months ago she cut a 
tooth. Her memory is good as to past events. She became 
a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church one hundred 
and six years ago, and is now a member of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South. 

It is my purpose to give a history of the Methodist 
people, so far as the materials for such history have 
come to hand. In accordance with this purpose it is 
proper here to introduce a brief notice of one of the 


Methodist pioneer women who assisted in laying the 
foundation of Methodism in upper East Tennessee. 

Mrs. Mary Rockhold, an amiable lady and emi- 
nent Christian, daughter of Robert Washam, was 
born in Wythe County, Va. Though brought up in 
the Quaker faith, she embraced religion at the age of 
fifteen and attached herself to the Methodist Church. 
At the age of twenty-three she was married to Mr. 
Thomas Rockhold, of Sullivan County, Tenn. In 
1816 they removed to Blountville, Tenn., where they 
spent the remainder of their days. When they set- 
tled in Blountville, there was but one person in the 
place who was a member of the Methodist Church — 
a lady by the name of Johnson. Airs. Rockhold had a 
passion for doing good ; but this passion was "in- 
flamed by reason, and by reason cooled." She gen- 
erally contributed to the support of the pious and 
humble ministers of Christ, and fed and clothed the 
gracious Master in his members. Shortly before her 
death she contributed fifty dollars toward building a 
union chapel in Blountville, and at her request fifty 
dollars more was sent by her husband to the Holston 
Conference to supply the wants of the preachers. 

About twelve months before her death she pro- 
fessed at a camp meeting to have experienced the 
"power of sanctifying grace," and went home prais- 
ing God for the perfect love that casteth out all fear. 
She appeared renewed not only in soul, but in body 
also. She died September 7. 1824. The Rev. David 
Adams preached her funeral sermon ; text, Job xix. 
23-27. This text she had a number of years pre- 
viously selected for her funeral discourse. 

Charles Rockhold came to Sullivan County, Tenn., 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 353 

about the year 1795, and settled on Holston River 
near the old Bushong Furnace. He was of English 
and German descent. He had three sons (Thomas, 
William, and Francis) ; also three daughters (Con- 
stance, who married a Mr. Booher near what is now 
Bristol, Patience, who married a Mr. Riley, and an- 
other daughter whose name I have not learned) . Thom- 
as Rockhold first appears on the records of Sullivan 
County in February, 1799. He was Sheriff of Sulli- 
van County during the years 1805-06. Thomas and 
William Rockhold sold goods in Blountville about 
that time. William Rockhold was also State's At- 
torney about the same time. William Rockhold 
bought a farm on Holston River in 181 5, and there 
he lived and died. It was on this farm that Rock- 
hold's Camp Ground was established. About the 
year 181 5 he married Harriet Netherland, a sister of 
Col. John Netherland, of Rogersville, a lawyer of 
celebrity. All of William Rockhold's children were 
members of the Methodist Church except the two 
oldest daughters, who married Presbyterians. It may 
be proper here to note that the Rev. Thomas K. Cat- 
lett's second wife was Margaret Netherland, a sister 
of Mrs. William Rockhold. 

John Tevis was admitted into the Ohio Conference 
in 1815. He became supernumerary in the Kentucky 
Conference in 1828, and was superannuated in 1835. 
He traveled in the Ohio Conference till 1820, when 
he was appointed presiding elder of the Holston Dis- 
trict, in the Tennessee Conference. He remained on 
this district four years. He was transferred to the 
Kentucky Conference in the fall of 1824. 

John Tevis was born in Baltimore, Md., January 



6, 1792. He was of English extraction, and his an- 
cestors were communicants of the English Church. 
Unable to reconcile the dogmas of Calvinism with the 
general atonement taught in the New Testament, he 
turned away from the beggarly dogmas of the schools 
to the word of- God, and by prayer and meditation 
sought the path of duty and safety. On the 9th of 
May, 1 81 3, he attended a class meeting in Shelby ville, 
Ky., and gave his name as a seeker of religion and a 
member of the Church on trial. About four months 
afterwards he was made to rejoice in a sense of sins 
forgiven. He felt impressed that it was his duty 
to preach the gospel, but he hesitated on account 
of his limited education, which was such only as was 
furnished by the common schools of his day in Ken- 
tucky. Encouraged by William Adams, who at that 
time was traveling the Salt River Circuit, he made 
known his impressions to his excellent father, who, 
though he had designed him for another calling, yield- 
ed to his son's convictions. On the 10th day of 
March, 1815, he left his father's house to enter upon 
the work of the itinerant ministry. He was among 
the most useful preachers of his day. The four years 
in which he presided over the Holston District were 
years of remarkable spiritual prosperity in that dis- 
trict. When he was appointed to the district, the 
membership numbered 2,920 ; when he left the district, 
it numbered 7,991 — a gain in four years of 5,071, or a 
gain of nearly 174 per cent ; that is to say, the mem- 
bership was nearly trebled. Among the many added 
to the Church in these years was Miss Julia Ann 
Hieronymus, the remarkable lady who afterwards be- 
came his wife. 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 355 

Mr. Tevis and his excellent wife had the honor 
of founding Science Hill Academy, in Shelbyville, 
Ky. — the first female institution of learning founded 
in the West — an institution that had a long and use- 
ful career, educating hundreds of young women 
who became ornaments to society and blessings to 
the Church. 

Mr. Tevis had strict notions as to ministerial dig- 
nity and propriety, which governed his deportment. 
He abhorred sin and folly in others; but, though he 
occasionally felt it to be his duty to rebuke wrong- 
doers, he was neither sour nor censorious. He prac- 
ticed what he preached, and lived what he enjoined 
upon others. His constant sanctity awed others into 
reverence for him. As he would walk along the 
streets, men would remark : "There goes a good 
man." Though a superior preacher, he was espe- 
cially powerful in prayer. It grew into a proverb: 
"If you want a revival, Brother Light must preach, 
Brother Stamper must exhort, and Brother Tevis must 

Though confined to his bed by paralysis for many 
years before his death, he suffered very little pain. 
His chamber was the sweetest and most cheerful place 
in the house. The chamber where he met his fate 
was quite in the verge of heaven. He died January 
26, 1861. 1 

Mr. Tevis and his excellent wife were well known 
in Holston, and are still remembered with affection 
and admiration by some of the oldest inhabitants. 
Their names are household words in many Methodist 

'"Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. II., pp. 352-356. 



FROM l822 TO 1824. 357 

families in Southwestern Virginia and East Tennes- 
see. Mr. Tevis became acquainted with Miss Hierony- 
mus while on the Holston District, and they were mar- 
ried at the residence of Capt. Francis Smith, in 
Abingdon, Va., March 9, 1824, the ceremony being 
performed by the Rev. William P. Kendrick. 

Miss Hieronymus was born in Clarke County, Ky., 
December 5, 1799. For the purpose of educating his 
children, Mr. Hieronymus removed to Winchester, 
Va. There she laid the foundation of her education. 
From Winchester her father removed to Washington 
City, where she completed her course of study. She 
was not educated for a teacher, but to fit her for be- 
ing an ornament in society. But man proposes, while 
God disposes ; and it was evidently the design of Prov- 
idence in equipping her with superior natural and ac- 
quired endowments, as she was equipped, that she 
should lead a career of great usefulness in the educa- 
tion of the girls and young women of Kentucky and 
other States of the Union, as she did. A reverse in 
the financial affairs of her father induced her to en- 
gage in teaching. She first taught in Wytheville, Va., 
boarding in the family of General Alexander Smyth. 
General Smyth was a first-class lawyer, a man of 
learning and refinement, and he had a most excellent 
family in an intellectual, social, and moral point of 
view. Mrs. Tevis, in her book, "Sixty Years in a 
Schoolroom," says : 

And now like a sunbeam of light across the shadows of 
the past comes the memory of my much-loved pupil, friend, 
and companion, Frances Smyth, who, though only fourteen 
years of age, rendered herself both useful and agreeable to 
me. A certain expression of frankness about her won my 


heart immediately. So natural and without disguise was her 
character and so winning the simplicity of her manners, 
due to her childlike innocence and sweet feminine timidity, 
that she soon became the sunshine of my daily existence, 
helping to dispel the clouds that sometimes gathered about 
my heart. There was something noble in the lineaments of 
her face, brilliantly lighted up at times and 'corresponding 
with her graceful figure. Her eyes were as "bright and blue 
as the summer sky," and her mouth trembled with half smiles, 
arising from the very buoyancy of inward gladness. Her 
complexion was enriched by the sweetest and most delicate 
bloom, allied to a tone of cheerfulness, and her every motion 
was so light and free that a poet might have supposed her 
some "Hebe or fair young daughter of the dawn." She was 
my constant and efficient aid in carrying out every arrange- 
ment; yet she was gentle, confiding, and one of the most 
obedient of my pupils. 

This lovely little girl, who may find mention again 
in the story of Holston, afterwards became the wife 
of Col. James Piper, and later of the Rev. John M. 
McTeer. She was unusually endowed by nature, her 
educational advantages were excellent, and in her ma- 
ture years she was a model of piety. She was a won- 
derful woman. 

Mrs. Tevis gives an account of her first difficulty 
in her school in Wytheville. It was with a little girl 
ten years of age, the youngest child of a large family, 
who had been badly spoiled. She was noisy, indolent, 
and impatient of restraint. Continually teasing and 
annoying others, she went on from bad to worse. One 
afternoon her resistance to authority reached its cli- 
max, and Miss Hieronymus took her to an adjoining 
apartment, spanked her with a slipper (probably 
the first whipping she had ever received), and then re- 
quested her to go home and not to return. When 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 359 

Miss Hieronymus entered the dining room next morn- 
ing General Smyth was cold and reserved. Frances 
ventured one kind glance from her sunny blue eyes; 
but Nancy, her younger sister, sat trembling, with 
flushed face, and sweet little Nannie Henderson, a 
granddaughter, seemed fluttered and amazed at the 
teacher's presence. No one spoke at the breakfast 
table except by way of cold courtesy. Miss Hierony- 
mus would not have taken a step backward, if she had 
lost her school. But lo ! she had scarcely ended call- 
ing the roll next morning in the schoolroom, when in 
walked the refractory pupil, accompanied by the other 
four of the family. You can imagine the teacher's 
relief when she read a note handed her by the refrac- 
tory pupil, running thus: "Please receive my penitent 
little girl again, with the positive assurance that every- 
thing shall be done to prevent future trouble ; and we 
will aid you in subduing and punishing any disobe- 
dience on her part. We are satisfied that you will 
do everything in your power to promote her highest 
interests, and are willing to leave the matter in your 

The struggle was over, and the victory was on the 
side of law and order. The girl remained with Miss 
Hieronymus as long as she remained in Wytheville, 
and became an obedient pupil ; and the family became 
and continued to be among her best friends. 1 

Capt. Francis Smith, of Abingdon, having offered 
Miss Hieronymus the situation of governess in his 
family, with a salary equal to the income of her 
school at Wytheville, she accepted. Captain Smith 


Sixty Years in a Schoolroom," pp. 164-168. 


lived near Abingdon, his place being afterwards 
called "The Meadows." He was a lawyer and farmer, 
and a man of wealth. She taught Captain Smith's 
daughter and three others. Her pupils were Mary 
Smith, Mary Campbell, Rachel Morgan, and Eliza- 
beth Trigg. At that time Abingdon was a mere vil- 
lage. The Presbyterians had a church and pastor ; 
but the Methodists had no meetinghouse, and none 
was built till 1823, and it was a very small framed 

Among the young friends of Miss Hieronymus was 
Rachel D. Mitchell. At the age of eighteen, in the 
year 1822, she was married to Mr. George V. Litch- 
field, a resident of Abingdon. That this was a wise 
and happy union was proved by a long life of wedded 
happiness. The bride was the ideal of innocence and 
loveliness; the bridegroom was a model of dignified 
manhood, whom it was natural to esteem and love. 
Noble sons and lovely daughters grew up like olive 
plants around their table. Mrs. Tevis had the pleas- 
ure of educating two of her daughters. I might men- 
tion here that one of these became the wife of Dr. 
William G. E. Cunnyngham. The house of Mr. 
Litchfield was always a preachers' home, and a free 
and luxurious hospitality was dispensed under his 
roof. The delicacy and richness of the viands which 
visitors enjoyed at the table of Mrs. Litchfield were 
often a matter of admiration. This stanch Methodist 
family had much to do in sustaining Methodism in 
Abingdon, and some of their posterity are yet among 
the leading supporters of the Church in that commu- 
nity. Mrs. Litchfield was a sister of John D. Mitch- 
ell, father-in-law of the Rev. Henry C. Neal, of the 

FROM 1822 TO 1824. 361 

Holston Conference. Mrs. Tevis in her autobiography 
mentions as among her friends Mrs. Joseph Trigg, at 
first a society woman, but after her conversion a de- 
voted Methodist and exemplary Christian. She was 
subsequently married to the Rev. Joseph Haskew, and 
"Aunt Bettie Haskew" is everywhere remembered in 
Southwestern Virginia as a burning and shining light. 
Another dear friend of Mrs. Tevis was a Mrs. Hen- 
derson, a widowed lady, a niece of William King, who 
established King's Salt Works. Her maiden name was 
Rachel Findlay. She was the oldest sister of Col. 
Alexander Findlay and Mrs. Bettie Haskew. After 
Miss Hieronymus became acquainted with her she mar- 
ried Peter I. Branch, an elegant gentleman, whose son, 
Walter Branch, was, after the death of his parents, 
reared and educated by Father Haskew and wife ; and 
in his day he was a consistent Christian, devoted Meth- 
odist, and Church worker. 

Mr. Francis Smith's wife was the widow of William 
King, and a most estimable Christian woman. She 
was a Presbyterian ; but her kindness in entertaining 
Methodist preachers led to the acquaintance between 
Mr. Tevis and Miss Hieronymus, which ripened into 
holy wedlock. Mary Smith, the pupil of Miss Hier- 
onymus, afterwards became the wife of Gov. Wynd- 
ham Robertson. Mr. Robertson, though not a Meth- 
odist, is well known in Methodist circles, as the found- 
er of the Robertson Oratorical Prize Medal of Emory 
and Henry College. At at early day in the history of 
Virginia Mr. Robertson was elected Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor of Virginia under Governor Tazewell, and upon 
the death of Governor Tazewell he became Govern- 
or. The Francis Smith place was named "Mary's 


Meadows" after Mary Smith, wife of Governor Rob- 

The conversion of Miss Hieronymus is an interest- 
ing story, and cannot but be profitable to my readers. 
When she came to Virginia, she was a society young 
woman ; and though not passionately fond of the dance, 
she did not decline an invitation to dance with gentle- 
men whom she had reason to respect. Her nature 
was essentially unfitted for fashionable society; but 
she went into it because it was easier to go than to 
refuse the kindness that forced on her the uncon- 
genial amusements of fashionable life. 

Some amusing mistakes were made in attempts to 
speak the unpronounceable name "Hieronymus." At 
a dancing party in Wytheville her first partner asked 
the pleasure of dancing in the reel with "Miss Round- 
abuss ;" the next, a lad of seventeen, very pompously 
called her "Miss Hippopotamus." A young disciple 
of iEsculapius thought he had it precisely right when 
he addressed her as "Miss Heterogeneous;" but all 
agreed at last that it was safer and more convenient 
to call her "Miss Julia Ann." 

Within the great soul of this young woman there 
was an "aching void" which the world could not fill. 
She read her Bible much and prayed often; but she 
was not satisfied. She cheerfully relinquished those 
frivolous amusements, into which she had been drawn 
more by circumstances than by taste — never having 
been fully satisfied that they were in keeping with the 
wants of an intellectual nature. 

She availed herself of the privileges of a protracted 
meeting in Abingdon. Against the protest of Captain 
Smith she attended the love feast, which made a deep 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 363 

impression upon her heart, now open to the reception 
of the truth. She then and there decided to abandon 
the world and become a Christian without compro- 
mise. She declined to attend the usual Fourth of 
July ball, to which she was expected to accompany 
her pupils. She did this at the risk of adverse crit- 
icism and the forfeiture of the friendship of some. 
But her heart was fixed ; and her relief can be imag- 
ined when, on announcing her decision to her young 
pupils, they all cheerfully acquiesced. In her new 
departure she was applauded and encouraged by her 
friend, Mrs. Joseph Trigg, "Cousin or Aunt Betty,' 1 
as she was familiarly called, who had now become a 
Methodist, combining the characteristics of Martha 
and Mary, and was as prominent a member of the 
straitest of all sects as she had been a leader in the 
fashionable world. At a quarterly meeting held some 
eighteen or twenty miles from Abingdon, Miss Hie- 
ronymus attended the love feast, and arose and re- 
quested the prayers of God's people, asking that the 
Lord's Supper might be administered the next day 
in order that she might have an opportunity to pledge 
herself in solemn covenant to Jesus by partaking of 
the emblems of the eucharistic feast ; and she prom- 
ised that at the next circuit preaching in Abingdon she 
would join the Church. Her request as to the admin- 
istration of the Lord's Supper was granted. The next 
morning she anticipated the sun in rising that she 
might read, pray, and meditate upon the solemn cov- 
enant which she was to make that day ; and O how 
earnestly did she pray that she might not eat and 
drink to condemnation ! She caught a glance of her- 
self in the old-fashioned mirror just before she de- 


scended to the breakfast room, and was startled at tht 
incongruity of her dress for the sacramental occasion 
Her large double collarette of book muslin seemec 
more conspicuous than ever before; her hair, dressec 
a la mode, with curls on the face, would, she thought 
contrast strangely with the Quaker-dressed people 
with whom she was to be associated. So she ex- 
changed the collarette for a simple muslin kerchiel 
folded over the bosom, and combed her hair smootr 
behind her ears. 

After it became known that Miss Hieronymus hac 
become a Methodist, her gay young friend, Johr 
Mitchell, would call every day or two to see how 
she was getting along "in making herself as much 
like old Mother Russell as possible." 

The appointed day for circuit preaching in Abing- 
don came. She walked through the orchard, the near- 
est way to town. "It was," to use her own language, 
"a charming morning. Summer was arrayed in hei 
brightest tints. The blue sky above was cloudless 
and beautiful ;" and to her "the air was never so balmy, 
the trees so green, or the songs of the birds so sweet 
The dew sparkled in the flower cups," and she "re- 
joiced in the assurance that all these lovely objects 
were the exponents of God's wisdom, tokens of his 
benevolence, and the perfect image of his greatness." 

The Rev. Josiah Rhoton was the preacher. The 
sermon over, Miss Hieronymus was formally inducted 
into the Church, after which she was completely sur- 
rounded by Christian friends, who wept and rejoiced 
over her as a new-found sister. 

In September, 1823, Miss Hieronymus attended a 
camp meeting at Sulphur Spring, Smyth County, Va. 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 365 

At this camp meeting she obtained the assurance of 
faith. She knew that a change had taken place in 
her heart, that the things she formerly delighted in 
no longer captivated her senses; but she also knew 
that she had not experienced the radical change, the 
psychic revolution, called conversion, or, more proper- 
ly, regeneration. She thus describes her full initia- 
tion into the divine life : 

On an afternoon of a day that had been filled with in- 
tensely interesting scenes I went with a few pious friends 
up into the mountain to pray. "Aunt Betty Trigg" was 
among the number, her soul full of love and prayer. We 
knelt beneath the wide-spreading branches of an oak, whose 
leaves had been repeatedly agitated by the breath of fervent 
prayer, resolved to wrestle like Jacob until the blessing was 
obtained. All prayed ; but one voice was heard above all 
the rest, and then came the hallowed silence of humble saints 
absorbed in prayer for me, while I felt the full force of that 
expression, "I can but perish if I go; I am resolved to try." 
It was a season of holy influences. ... I felt willing to 
yield all to the will of God and place my hopes of happiness 
for time and eternity at the foot of the cross, and then came 
a "joy and peace in believing" that words could not express, 
and I sat like Mary at the feet of Jesus and wept with that 
sweet song in my mouth : 

"In such a frame as this 

I'd sit and sing my. soul away 
To everlasting bliss." 

The conversations, prayers, and sermons of the 
presiding elder now became more interesting than 
ever to Miss Hieronymus. Before Mr. Tevis left the 
house of Captain Smith in the autumn of 1823 to 
visit his father, near Shelbyville, Ky., he prayed, and 
his prayer was more than usually fervent, and it was 
characterized by a simple and lofty eloquence that 


kindled a devotional spirit in every heart ; and when 
he bade the family farewell there was a glow of holy 
feeling in his face. As Miss Hieronymus walked to 
the window to watch his receding form, she was con- 
scious of a deeper interest in Mrs. Smith's model 
preacher than she was willing to acknowledge to her- 
self. The attachment proved afterwards to be mu- 
tual. A few letters passed, a candid interview was 
had, an engagement was entered into, and, the two 
hearts being already one, the two lives were made 
one. 1 

Air. and Mrs. Tevis founded Science Hill Acad- 
emy in 1825. This school had a small beginning, but 
eventually became popular and extensively useful. 
After the death of Mr. Tevis, Mrs. Tevis carried on 
the school with marked success. Her connection with 
the school lasted for more than fifty years. Her su- 
perior talents, splendid education, great dignity of 
character, deep piety, and extensive usefulness have 
won for her an enviable name. 2 

Thomas Maddin was admitted into the Tennessee 
Conference in 1818, located in 1826, and was read- 
mitted in 1837. 

His only Holston charge was Knox Circuit, to 
which he was appointed in 1823, Francis Owen being 
his colleague and assistant. His valuable labors were 
wholly dispensed within the Tennessee Conference. 
I met him at the General Conference at Louisville 
in 1874. I happened to be sitting in the same pew 
with him during a missionary rally, which, though 

lu Sixty Years in a Schoolroom," pp. 161-164. 
"Redford's "Life of Kavanaugh," pp. 94-96. 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 367 

addressed by Bishop Pierce and others, was rather 
dull till Dr. McFerrin took the stand. The Doctor 
was unusually humorous that evening, when Dr. Mad- 
din, turning to me, said in a deprecating manner: "I 
wonder if they are going to turn it into a circus?" 
This was my only contact with this good man, who 
then and there impressed me as a solemn, earnest man 
of God. Dr. Maddin several years since went up to 
his reward. 

Thomas Maddin was born in Philadelphia, Pa., 
February 13, 1796. His father was a Roman Cath- 
olic. His mother was brought up among the Quakers. 
Thomas early went to confession. He was selected 
to attend the priest in the celebration of mass, and be- 
came quite a proficient thuriferarian. He was put 
upon a preparatory study looking to the priesthood. 
Soon after this, being put to business in the city, he 
drifted at first from his religious moorings. For- 
tunately, however, he was eventually thrown with 
Methodists, and became impressed with their pure 
morality, uniform piety, and love for the means of 
grace. He attended Methodist meetings, and was 
powerfully convicted and converted. The priest 
sought an interview with him and endeavored to ar- 
gue him out of his new departure. The young man 
replied: "Mr. Harrold, you cannot expect me, a boy, 
to dispute with you, a man ; but I have one thing to 
say : I know that God, for Christ's sake, has pardoned 
my sins." The priest raised his hands in holy horror 
and exclaimed : "You are a lunatic ! you are a lunatic !" 
But the young man stood by his experience, and could 
not be swerved from his purpose to be a Methodist. 
The priest parted with him affectionately, expressing 


the hope that he would yet be a good Catholic; but 
he would never after that speak to him when he met 
him. Thus did the grace of God rescue this prom- 
ising young man from a religion of dead forms, very 
little better than the veriest heathenism. The priest 
plainly showed that he knew nothing of the life and 
power of true religion, and that he was a formalist 
and bigot. Mr. Maddin's father disinherited him; 
but his mother and many of his relatives were happily 
converted, and became members of the Methodist 
Church. He emigrated to the State of Kentucky; 
and, impelled by a desire to save souls, he began to 
hold meetings and, indeed, to exhort and preach; but 
for some time he declined to take preaching license. 
At length, however, he was persuaded by the Rev. 
James Ward to allow his application for license to go 
before the Quarterly Conference of Jefferson Circuit, 
by which, after examination by the presiding elder, 
Marcus Lindsey, he was authorized to preach. Mr. 
Maddin was an intelligent man and a good preacher. 
He served some of the most important charges in his 
Conference, and as a Christian and minister was al- 
ways above reproach. He was respected and ven- 
erated wherever he went. 1 

Samuel B. Harwell was admitted into the Tennes- 
see Conference in 1818, and located in 1825 ; was read- 
mitted, in the Holston Conference, in 1846; probably 
placed on the superannuate list in 1858. He is not men- 
tioned at all in the minutes of 1857, but appears as a 
superannuate in the Minutes of 1858; and he sustained 
this relation to the day of his death, which occurred 

^'Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. Ill , pp. 34-45. 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 369 

at his home, in Roane County, Term., August 16, 1874. 
He was a man of strong mind, was familiar with the 
doctrines of the Bible, and unswerving in his devo- 
tion to his Church. He was above mediocrity among 
the Holston preachers of his day. During a long life 
and a long public career he maintained a consistent 
Christian character. He was long afflicted with drop- 
sy, of which he died. He was patient in suffering, 
unwavering in his trust in Jesus Christ, and he de- 
parted this life in blissful hope of a better one. 

The Rev. Joseph A. Bilderback tells me that he once 
heard Samuel B. Harwell, then in advanced life, 
preach at Winton's Chapel, in Roane County, Tenn. 
His voice was weak and husky at the beginning, but 
it cleared up as he proceeded, and it at last showed 
great strength and compass. Harwell that day was 
remarkably clear in argument and forcible in expres- 
sion. He preached with great spiritual power, and 
while he was explaining the process of repentance, 
faith, and regeneration, a young lady present was 
happily converted. She was a member of a large class 
of young ladies in the Sunday school, whose teacher 
was the wife of Mr. John A. Winton. All her pu- 
pils had been brought to Jesus except this one, who 
on that day found him precious to her soul. 

Jesse Green was admitted into the Tennessee Con- 
ference in 1 81 7. His Holston appointments were as 
follows: 1817, Ashe; 1818, Clinch; 1820, Powell's 
Valley; 1821 and 1822, New River. In 1823 he was 
transferred to the Missouri Conference, where he 
held some of the most responsible stations, for many 
years being presiding elder. During his itinerant ca- 
reer his fields lay in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, 


and Missouri, and he died a member of the St. Louis 

His father, Jesse Green, was born in Delaware, 
June 14, 1753. He was united in marriage to Isabella 
Gibson in 1781. Her father, James Gibson, was a 
captain in the Revolutionary army. Jesse Green, Sr., 
and James Gibson followed the fortunes of John 
Sevier, Governor of the State of Franklin, and adhered 
to him in his captivity. While he was a prisoner in 
the hands of the authorities of North Carolina, they 
pursued his captors across Yellow Mountain, assisted 
in his rescue at Morganton and in bringing him back 
in triumph to the frontier. 

Jesse Green, Jr., was born in East Tennessee, in the 
Winton neighborhood, on the south side of the French 
Broad River, some seven miles east of' the present site 
of Dandridge, November 29, 1791, and was from a 
child a sprightly, active boy, of a lively, playful tem- 
perament, but possessed of a tender and affectionate 
disposition. He was a friend and playmate of Jesse 
Cunnyngham. His parents were devout Methodists. 
His literary opportunities were limited ; in youth he 
acquired only the rudiments of an English educa- 
tion. In his day a man who could read, write, and 
cipher to the single rule of three was considered a 
respectable scholar, and a man who had ciphered 
through the book, and besides studied grammar, was 
something of a prodigy of learning! However, Mr. 
Green was not such a prodigy. 

He attended a camp meeting at Winton's, afterwards 
called Muddy Creek Camp Ground, and there he was 
powerfully convicted and converted. When his first 
ecstasy had partially subsided, he began to exhort 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 371 

those around him to come to Christ, and went all over 
the camp ground recommending the Lord Jesus to all 
whom he met. Here he also connected himself 
with the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was li- 
censed to exhort by John Bowman. While he was 
yet an exhorter he was drafted into the army, and re- 
mained in it from October, 18 14, to May, 181 5. He 
joined General Coalter's Brigade at Knoxville, marched 
to Mobile, and was at the fort when it surrendered 
to the British. He was a good soldier, and maintained 
his Christian integrity in the army. Having returned 
from the army, he felt powerfully impressed that it was 
his duty to preach the gospel. -He was licensed to 
preach February 15, 1817, under John Henninger, 
presiding elder. On his circuits he had great success ; 
indeed, he was a revivalist. He was almost idolized 
by the people. Mr. Green was from childhood eager 
for knowledge ; and while other children were at play 
he would be seen sitting among the older people, listen- 
ing attentively to their conversations. 

After Mr. Green entered the ministry, he was uni- 
formly serious, but always affable and sometimes hu- 
morous. One of his leading traits was firmness. He 
was not a reed shaken by the wind. Jesse Cunnyng- 
ham once accompanied Mr. Green to one of his ap- 
pointments on New River Circuit, and Cunnynghanrs 
description of the manner of making coffee at that 
time on that circuit will give the reader some idea of 
the plain manner of life of our forefathers in this 
country. The description is substantially as follows: 
A boiler of ten or twelve gallons' capacity was filled 
with water and hung over the fire. A quart or more 
of corn meal, parched in an oven, was then put into a 


vessel, and some of the hot water was poured over it, 
with a quantity of cream or sweet milk ; then the mix- 
ture was poured into the pot over the fire, and a consid- 
erable quantity of maple sugar was dropped into it. 
It was boiled for a few minutes, and then taken from 
the fire, and was ready for use. The family and guests 
then seated themselves around the table, where there 
was an abundance of well-baked corn bread, and they 
ate heartily, and thanked their Heavenly Father for 
setting for them so bountiful a table in the wilderness. 
This was a sample of much, but not all, of the fare on 
Mr. Green's Circuit. 

The following is in substance a letter written by 
Rev. Creed Fulton in 1851: About the year 1822, at 
a quarterly meeting held for the New River Circuit, 
in Grayson County, Va., by the Rev. John Tevis and 
others, Mr. Fulton for the first time saw Mr. Green, 
who soon became an esteemed acquaintance of Mr. 
Fulton's father and family, on whom he bestowed pas- 
toral visits accompanied by prayer and religious ad- 
vice. He took great pains with young Fulton, with a 
view of introducing him into the ministry. Under his 
personal care Mr. Fulton first left his father's home. 
He took the young man with him to the northern part 
of New River Circuit — a territory probably embra- 
cing a dozen or more pastoral charges at the present 
time. It was in the winter. A few days after this tour 
was commenced the weather became intensely cold. 
One Monday they proceeded northward from the town 
of Wytheville. They soon found themselves advan- 
cing upon mountain scenery of exceeding grandeur. 
As they wended their way amidst the spurs and gorges 
of the mountains, the forests were adorned with fes- 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 373 

toons of hanging icicles, which served as prisms to 
analyze the sunbeams and reveal the beauties of the 
rainbow, that melted away into rich and bewildering 
varieties of color. Such scenery served to beguile 
the tedium of the journey amid those wild and frozen 
ridges. When they reached the summit of the first 
mountain, their vision was instantly filled with gran- 
deur and sublimity, captivating the utmost powers of 
imagination in bewildering admiration. Other and 
higher mountains beyond loomed up before them. The 
silence of the intervening vales was disturbed only by 
murmuring streams gliding away. A mantle of snow 
spread over hill and dale glittered in the sunbeams be- 
neath ice-bound forests, and invested those high walls 
of nature with superlative sublimity. Mr. Fulton nev- 
er saw nature in any mood that seemed more eloquent 
of the power and majesty of the Creator. The day 
was fast wearing away as they were descending a 
rugged mountain declivity, rendered not a little serious 
from the apprehension that a slip of horses' feet might 
precipitate them into the greatest perils. The valley 
below presented to the eye nothing but a wild and 
cheerless wilderness, apparently the chartered home of 
the ferocious children of the woods. The scene and 
approaching night turned the soul back on itself, and 
the stripling preacher thought of a place of rest and 
of the comfortable home he had so lately left. He 
thought of a mother's kindness and a father's care — 
of brothers and sisters. With anxious look he turned 
to "Brother" Green and said: "What kind of people 
and place shall we have to-night?" He answered: 
"You shall soon see." After toiling two miles farther, 
they found the place. Who could describe it? It 


was a miserable log cabin with the cracks all open, 
and a sort of pen for horses — these were the improve- 
ments. As Mr. Green crossed the floor he smote a 
pig, which came squealing and dashing by the young 
sprout of divinity. The next animal he raised was a 
dog; this creature, being briefly chastised, fled, utter- 
ing many cries and lamentations. There was also a 
gander reposing in one part of the room. But the 
good woman said : "Brother, the gander is sick ; I will 
have him taken out." The floor was deeply covered 
with dirt and ashes. There was absolutely no bed in 
this miserable hovel. On a scaffold set in one corner 
of the room the family passed the night. The supper 
was fat bear meat, coarse bread, and wild tea. But 
now Brother W — , the man of the house, arrived, and 
seemed glad to find the preachers as his guests ; and 
he rendered very important service in keeping up a 
log heap fire to war against the terrible cold. The 
hour of rest came, and, prayers being over, the preach- 
ers spread their bearskins and used their saddles for 
pillows and their cloaks for covering. Thus situa- 
ted, they endured "hardness as good soldiers" until 
about midnight, when they found it necessary to awak- 
en the landlord, that he might renew the log heap. At 
last came welcome day. They touched lightly as the 
bear meat and other dishes were passed at the break- 
fast table. Mr. Green notified the young preacher 
that he must preach that day. The hours to him 
seemed to hasten. Soon the sons and daughters of 
the coves began to appear. O what hoosiers they 
were ! Such costumes the young divine had never 
seen. He tried to preach from : "By whom shall Ja- 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 375 

cob arise? for he is small." It was astonishing to see 
how the people wept under the fervor of the young 
orator. Mr. Green followed with a forcible exhorta- 
tion, attended with great effect. The scene changed : 
they saddled their horses and forged their way over 
hill and dale, through snow and ice and awful nar- 
rows, until night came on, and cold and hunger pressed 
them sorely. They reached the valley of East River, 
in what is now Giles County, and soon the light of a 
domicile appeared. This sent a gleam of joy through 
their shivering spirits. The bark of a friendly dog 
gave notice of their approach, while the goodman of 
the house met them with an overflowing welcome and 
hurried them into the house. When they entered, 
their eyes and hearts were charmed with the sight of 
one of the sweetest and cleanest chambers that the 
energy and ingenuity of woman ever adorned. In 
the center of the room stood a dining table in complete 
trim, while before the fire sat glittering in brightness 
a coffeepot and dishes, with fried ham and biscuit. 
The scene, in such marked contrast with the entertain- 
ment of the previous evening and with a smiling lady 
sympathizing with and consoling her jaded guests 
most fervently, seemed a new world to the embryo 
itinerant. No poet could adequately describe with 
what relish and delight the weary preachers addressed 
themselves to the hospitalities of that Christian home. 
It was an hour when life seemed to be new, and the 
capacity for enjoyment full. 

But to return to Mr. Green in the West. He took 
sick in a protracted meeting in which he preached 
a number of earnest and effective sermons, and in 


about five days thereafter he ascended. He died in 
Henry County, Mo., April 18, 1847. 1 

Mr. Green was a man of marked ability. He was 
small of stature, erect and manly in form and bearing, 
and he looked like one ordained to lead and govern 
among the hosts of Israel. His eyes were expressive 
of sympathy, ardor, purity, and love ; and when lighted 
up with the inspiration of his theme, they were elec- 
trifying. His sermons often contained the rare com- 
bination of the metaphysical and emotional. He com- 
manded the attention and respect of the most intelli- 
gent hearers. "He spake as one having authority," 
and his denunciations of sin and appeals to sinners 
were sometimes terrific. He was a man of one work. 
He was kind and encouraging in his bearing to young 
preachers. 2 

In 1847 the St. Louis Conference adopted a pream- 
ble and resolutions as a tribute of respect to his mem- 
ory, recording "a humble testimony of his inestima- 
ble worth" and an expression of their "deep and sin- 
cere sorrow for the loss of him." The preamble 
stated: "Brother Green entered the ministry in early 
life, with qualifications for extraordinary usefulness ; 
and during the whole period of thirty years to his 
death his course in the itinerancy was alike laborious, 
self-sacrificing, holy, and successful." 3 

John Dever, the name sometimes improperly spelled 
Daver, was admitted into the Tennessee Conference 
in 1817, and located in 1823. 

^'Life of Jesse Green," by Mrs. Mary Green, pp. 7-38. 
^"Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., pp. 470, 471. 
3 "General Minutes of the M. E. Church, South," p. 108. 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 377 

Dever began his labors on Christian Circuit, in 
Green River District. His Holston appointments 
were: 1818, Lee; 1821 and 1822, presiding elder of 
French Broad District. 

He settled as a local preacher in Knox County, 
Tenn., on the south side of Holston River, below the 
mouth of Little River, two and a half miles from 
Wright's Ferry. The Church which he attended was 
Mount Moriah. 

Mr. Dever was favored with a commanding per- 
son, was of good height and well-proportioned, with 
a ruddy, fresh complexion, clear blue eyes, and a 
bright, intelligent, and amiable countenance. He made 
a fine impression in the pulpit, and by his deep piety, 
fervent and evangelical preaching, won all hearts. He 
was a "star preacher." His social and conversational 
powers were superior, making him the center of every 
circle he was in. When on French Broad District he 
was about thirty-five years old. 1 

Arthur McClure was admitted into the Tennessee 
Conference in 1822; and died September 26, 1825, 
while on Limestone Circuit. His only Holston ap- 
pointment was to New River Circuit, as helper, in 
1822. He was born in East Tennessee February 16, 
1 801. In about his eighteenth year he experienced 
the power of divine grace in regeneration. After his 
conversion he made rapid improvement in the knowl- 
edge of divine things, and received license to exhort. 
He was licensed to preach September 29, 1821, and 
joined the traveling connection the next year. On 

'Hon. William Garrett, in "Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. 
n -» PP- 517, 518. 


New River Circuit, his first charge, he labored with 
success, and was greatly beloved by the people. Na- 
ture formed him for hardship, study, and usefulness. 
He improved rapidly in preaching, and his labors were 
always acceptable. In 1823 he was appointed to Jack- 
son Circuit, and in 1824 to Limestone Circuit. One 
of the greatest revivals of religion ever witnessed with- 
in the bounds of the Huntsville District occurred on 
Jackson and Limestone Circuits, while he had charge 
of them. While on Limestone Circuit he sank under 
a violent attack of bilious fever, which baffled the skill 
of his physicians. On his dying bed he reviewed, with 
satisfaction, the genuineness of the doctrines which he 
had preached, and on which now rested the eternal in- 
terests of his soul. In his last moments he opened his 
eyes, and with a smile exclaimed : "O Jesus ! the sweet- 
est name that ever saluted my ears." He departed in 
triumph. 1 

The readers of Methodist history will not fail to 
observe that the colored people were large sharers in 
the benefits of the gospel as preached by the pioneer 
Methodist preachers in Holston. Methodism, with its 
extemporaneous preaching and warm, gushing reli- 
gious experience, is peculiarly suited to the colored 
man ; and few trophies are more glorious than those it 
has won among the colored people. Among the plan- 
tation hands and the black mammas of the home were 
found some of the sublimest specimens of purity of 
character and religious consecration. Called to be 
children of God, some of the men were also called to 


General Minutes," Vol. I., pp. 540, 541. 

FROM l822 TO 1824. 379 

We are indebted to the Hon. William Garrett for 
the mention of some of the negro preachers whom he 
knew. Joseph, a slave, the property of Francis J. 
Carter, Esq., of the Dutch Bottom, in Cocke County, 
Tenn., was a man of deep piety, and not only had the 
confidence of his owner, but of the people of the 
country generally. He was licensed to preach about 
the year 1818. His master was kind and indulgent 
toward him, and he was permitted to attend school 
at Anderson Academy for a session or two, boarding 
or staying at the house of James Gilliland. His tui- 
tion was free. He made reasonable proficiency. He 
preached in the country extensively in private houses 
as well as in churches. He was modest and diffident, 
and preferred to preach in the out-of-the-way com- 
munities, and there he had many seals to his ministry. 
His congregations were often large, and the more in- 
telligent and refined among the people attended his 
ministry with profit. Although thus flattered, he did 
not lose his modesty and diffidence. His gifts in 
prayer were extraordinary. He was faithful to the 
end of life. 

Simon Rodgers, a free man of color, was another 
useful preacher. He commenced preaching before Jo- 
seph did, had more mind and culture, but not more of 
the confidence of the Church. 

Thomas, a siave, the property of Benjamin Thomp- 
son, came forward a few years later, and as a pupil 
at a Sunday school taught by Mr. William Garrett 
for two years he made proficiency. In this he was 
aided by a quick and ready mind, and an eagerness for 
knowledge. His attainments in Scripture knowledge 
were surprising. He was a humble, useful man. In 


the year 1869 the Hon. William Garrett, his forme 
Sunday school teacher, received a message from him 
full of kind and grateful remembrances, and with, as 
surances that, though he was near the end of hi: 
earthly journey, he had a firm reliance upon the gos 
pel, which he had preached for over forty-five years. 1 

^'Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., pp. 523, 524. 


Sketches of Preachers. 

The year 1824 begins a new era in Holston Meth- 
odism. We have had to do with its pioneer history 
proper up to this date. The men and women who 
have been brought to our notice laid deep and broad 
the foundations of Methodist Christianity in this hill 
country; but the men and the women who shall now 
be brought to our notice built on these foundations. 
The first circuit in Holston was organized in 1783 
with a membership of sixty ; the Holston country, com- 
prising a district of six circuits, fell into the Western 
Conference at its organization, in 1802, with a mem- 
bership of 2,980; when the Western Conference was 
divided, in 18 12, the Holston District fell into the Ten- 
nessee Conference, with nine circuits and a member- 
ship of 6,335. I n J 824 the Holston Conference started 
out with three districts, twenty-six circuits, and a mem- 
bership of 14,934. This was creditable progress, when 
all the circumstances are taken into consideration. It 
was a net acquisition to the Church, over deaths, re- 
movals, withdrawals, and expulsions, of more than 
three hundred and fifty-four members per annum, in 
a comparatively small district of country, hilly and 
mountainous, sparsely settled, with no railways, very 
little navigation, and competing, as it did, with the 
rich prairies of the West and the broad savannas of 
the South, this increase having been made in the face, 



of the combined forces of the world, the flesh, anc 
the devil, and the decent and conscientious competitior 
of Calvinistic Presbyterians and Baptists, who hac 
preoccupied the ground. 

In biographical notices of preachers it has been m} 
policy to withhold a particular sketch of each man un 
til his connection as a traveling preacher with th< 
Holston work has ceased, whether his connection ha; 
been severed by location, transfer, death, or other 
wise ; but a number of useful and prominent men la 
bored in the Holston country both before and afte: 
the organization of the Holston Conference, and som< 
of them many years thereafter ; and it would not be do 
ing them justice to defer mention of them up to tin 
date of their severance from the Holston work. I 
is due to these men that they should have credit fo 
the part they took in the pioneer work of Holstoi 
Methodism; for peculiar honor attaches to men wht 
have been at the beginnings of great enterprises an< 
have taken a part in the founding of useful institu 
tions. The world will never forget Adam, the found 
er of the race ; Noah, the second founder of the race 
Abraham, the father of the faithful ; Jesus, the found 
er of Christianity ; Luther, the founder of Protestant 
ism ; Wesley, the founder of Methodism ; Asbury, tin 
chief founder of American Methodism, and the loca 
and traveling preachers who planted Methodism in tin 
wilds of the West, and upon whose -foundations we an 
now building. I shall, therefore, make an exceptici 
of the cases of the prominent men who labored ii 
the Holston country both before and after the yea: 

John Henninger was admitted into the Westen 


Conference in 1807, and died December 18, 1838. 
His first circuit was Carter's Valley. He afterwards 
traveled in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The 
major portion of his service was rendered in the Hol- 
ston country, and he was eminently a Holston man. 
His career as a preacher was long and useful. He 
was a man of popular talents, and he left the savor of 
an unusually good name in the bounds of the Holston 

John Henninger was born in Washington County, 
Va., in the year 1780. He was of German parentage. 
He embraced religion and joined the Methodist 
Church in his sixteenth year. Not a great while after 
his conversion he was licensed to preach, and he 
preached for some years as a local preacher; but not 
satisfied with this narrow field of usefulness, he joined 
the traveling connection. In 18 16 he was made pre- 
siding elder of the French Broad. District, and remained 
in charge of it two years. He located in 1818, and 
was readmitted in 1825, appointed presiding elder of 
Knoxville District, and in 1828 was transferred to 
the Washington District. In 1829 he was appointed 
Agent of Holston Seminary, with the Rev. Thomas 
Stringfield. In 1830 he was returned to the Wash- 
ington District, on which he labored four years. In 

1834 he was granted a supernumerary relation and 
placed in charge of the Washington Circuit, and in 

1835 he took charge again of the Washington District. 
At the close of this year he became a superannuate ; but 
with slightly improved -health, he took the Washington 
District again in 1837, upon which he finished his 
course. While in the local relation he made his home 
in Bledsoe County, Tenn., not far' from Pikeville, 


Here he had his warmest friends, and here his fam- 
ily entered into marriage relations. He spent his last 
years, however, in Bradley County, Tenn., and died 

For some time before the attack of fever from 
which he died he had a presentiment of his approach- 
ing end. Does God by some kind of inspiration hon- 
or, in special cases, his faithful servants with notice 
to set their houses in order? or do their guardian 
angels whisper to them of their approaching end? or 
does a consciousness of decaying vitality and waning 
strength admonish them of the approach of dissolu- 
tion ? Who can answer these questions ? Howbsit 
Henninger felt that his end was near, and it gave him 
no alarm. 

In his last illness he was deprived of the kind at- 
tentions of his beloved wife, who lay sick of the same 
fever in an adjoining room. Learning that her end 
was near, he made his way, by the assistance of friends, 
into her room, and said substantially: "My dear, I 
thought I should go first; now I see that you will go 
before me and obtain the crown ; but I shall soon fol- 
low you." After the death of his wife, who entered 
the spirit world some four or five days before he did, 
he spoke in tender and comforting words to his be- 
reaved children. 

The Rev. Josiah B. Daughtry visited Air. Hennin- 
ger during his sickness. One day Mr. Henninger 
fell into a doze and, awaking suddenly, cried out : 
"O what have I seen? Was I , asleep or not? I saw 
thousands of beautiful things." Then turning his 
head toward his children, he added: "I saw your moth- 
er in heaven. She was beautiful." He then called 


Mr. Daughtry to his bedside, and said: "I have some 
serious conversation that I wish to hold with you ; but 
I am too full." In a few moments he resumed: "We 
became acquainted with each other when we were both 
young men ; we have fought side by side ; but now I 
shall leave you. I shall die. Preach my funeral ser- 
mon; bury my wife at the town of Cleveland, and 
leave a place for me by her side ; there the plowshare 
will not run over my grave. The town is a public 
place, and many of the preachers will pass there. I 
want them to call and see my grave ; it may do them 

I pause here to remark that scores of preachers have 
visited the grave of Mr. Henninger, in the Cleveland 
Cemetery. When stationed there in 1856, I often 
found it convenient to visit the cemetery for study 
and meditation, and often looked upon the marble 
that pointed out the resting place of Henninger and 

As a man, Henninger was naturally of a lively, 
buoyant temperament; but he had occasions of de- 
pression. As a Christian, he was faithful and con- 
sistent. He was respected by even the irreligious and 
profane. As a husband and parent, he was character- 
ized by great tenderness and affection. He was en- 
deared to his family in an unusual degree, and around 
the fireside his Christian virtues shone with peculiar 
luster. 1 

Mr. Henninger was in his day one of the foremost 
men of the Church. Dr. Redford says of him : "Al- 
though Mr. Henninger remained but a single year in 

^'Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., p. 112. 


Kentucky, by his expansive intellect, burning elo- 
quence, and fervent piety, he made an impression 
upon the community and the Church that two gen- 
erations have not effaced. While his talents ranked 
him with the first intellects of the State, his indom- 
itable energy and extraordinary zeal made him more 
than equal to the hardships and sacrifices incident to 
the pioneer preacher. Attracted by the charms of his 
eloquence, hundreds everywhere crowded to his min- 
istry and listened to the invitations of the gospel as 
they fell from his lips." 1 

Judge Pirtle, of Louisville, Ky., says: "Mr. Hen- 
ninger was an extraordinary young man, of powerful, 
subduing eloquence, and of good, calm judgment. 
His very name brings to me some of the most sub- 
lime memories of my life." 2 

It is said that his pulpit efforts were so overpower- 
ing that the large assemblies to which he preached 
would sometimes arise from their seats and crowd 
around the pulpit, eager to hear his every word. His 
labors were often crowned with gracious revivals of 
religion. 3 

I have heard the following anecdote of him. At a 
certain camp meeting he and the Rev. Thomas String- 
field were appointed to preach on Sunday morning, 
one after the other, Stringfield first. While they were 
meditating in the preachers' tent, Henninger over- 
heard two men speaking of the anticipated homiletic 
duel. One of them said that Stringfield would preach 

'Methodism in Kentucky," Vol II, pp. 58, 59. 
'Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. II., p. 59. 
'Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., p. 112. 


the better sermon ; the other said that Henninger would. 
"What will you bet ?" said one of them. "I will bet you 
a pumpkin," said the other. The wager was accepted. 
The joke was too good to keep, and Henninger at 
once informed Stringfield of the bet. It was too 
much for Stringfield's refined, sensitive nature. After 
his sermon was over his friends, mortified at his fail- 
ure, came to him and asked what in the world was the 
matter with him. He replied : "I could not get that 
pumpkin out of my head." Henninger was more 
fortunate ; he had let the conversation which he had 
overheard go into one ear and out at the other, and 
the pumpkin did not disturb him. 

In conversation with Rev. James Sewell, a local 
preacher, I obtained the following particulars in re- 
gard to Mr. Henninger. Mr. Sewell knew him well. 
Mr. Henninger was an extraordinary man, of over- 
medium size, with an open, friendly countenance. A 
sweet-spirited man, he made friends wherever he went. 
In the pulpit his favorite theme was the resurrection 
of the human body. Henninger used to tell an anec- 
dote of his father. When he heard that his son was to 
hold a camp meeting some seventy-five miles away, he 
went to the meeting in company with others. On 
nearing the camp ground and hearing the voice of his 
son, who was at that time preaching, he exclaimed: 
"O that all my sons had been Shon !" 

The following anecdote is told by Dr. Mc Anally: 
Rev. John Henninger, as presiding elder, was holding 
a quarterly meeting at a meetinghouse near the resi- 
dence of James Axley. The large attendance on Sun- 
day rendered it necessary, for the accommodation of 
the multitude, that the services should occur in the 


open air. Henninger, who preached, took his stand 
by a large tree, and Axley sat down on the turf at the 
root of the tree. Rev. R. M. Stevens sat a little farther 
from the tree, where Axley was in full view. Hen- 
ninger had long suffered from asthma; and stand- 
ing as he then was, a brisk wind was blowing directly 
in his face, and it was soon apparent that in such a 
freeze he would be unable to go through the services. 
Axley manifested much uneasiness, turning from side 
to side with smothered groans. He at length rose up, 
covered his face with his hands, leaned his head for- 
ward against the tree, and stood there in that posture 
for some minutes. Stevens afterwards remarked : 
"I declare to you that soon after he sat down I looked 
in vain for stirring leaves; the wind had entirely 
ceased." The sermon went on, and it was finished 
with ease to the speaker and benefit to the worshiper. 
In the afternoon Henninger, Stevens, and others went 
with Axley to dinner; and while at the table Axley. 
with tears trickling down his cheeks, said: "J onn > you 
are getting old, I am getting old ; I wished to hear 
you preach one time more ; did not know but this might 
be my last chance to hear you, and I saw that the wind 
was about to cut off your voice; so I begged God to 
stop it." 1 

I take pleasure in reproducing the following esti- 
mate of Mr. Henninger from the eloquent pen of Rev. 
C. D. Smith, D.D., written from Franklin, N. C, and 
published in the Holston Methodist in December, 

When I entered the Holston Conference as a probationer, 
John Henninger was in the prime of life and in the height of 

1 A newspaper article by Dr. McAnally. 


his ministerial success. His name had become a tower of 
Methodist strength throughout all lower East Tennessee. 
He met the surging columns of infidelity and the cohorts of 
bigotry and prejudice, and routed them at every point. A 
good deal of that country was new, and the elements of so- 
ciety were in a formative state at that time. I have no doubt 
there are now many strongholds of Methodism throughout 
all that section, the foundations of which were laid by the 
labors and success of John Henninger. I had seen him in 
the pulpit and felt the shock of his magnetism ; and in the 
fall of 1838, while on my way , to Conference, which met that 
fall at Wytheville, Va., at the request of a brother I left my 
route and called at his home, where I spent a day and night 
with him, while he prepared his necessary reports and papers 
concerning his district to send to Conference by me. He was 
detained at home on account of the sickness of his wife, and 
shortly after I left he was taken down himself, and in a few 
weeks they both died. What I did not know of his character 
and labors personally I learned from those most intimately 
acquainted with him. 

Mr. Henninger was a man of fine social qualities. He was 
never dogmatic, never morose, never crabbed, never assum- 
ing in his social or official intercourse with others. There 
was a life and freshness about him always captivating. While 
he was what you would call a lively companion, he never 
descended to driveling and never made himself ridiculous. 
There was a manly sense of propriety about him which never 
failed him. His impulses were of a high order, and proceeded 
from a warm and generous nature. There was no duplicity 
in his friendships, and his censures of his brethren were rare 
and always for cause. He was of a nervous, sanguine tem- 
perament, and hence of an affectionate disposition and strong 
attachments. How much of the grace of these traits of char- 
acter was due to the renewing power of God in his conver- 
sion, we will not undertake to say. We have no doubt, how- 
ever, that divine grace gives many a noble touch and finish to 
the best-adjusted traits of human character. 

As a preacher, John Henninger possessed many of the ele- 
ments of success. His personal appearance was prepossess- 


ing, and his manly, open, and expressive countenance always 
commanded attention. His voice was pleasant and musical, 
and its mellow intonations lent a charm to his sermons. His 
magnetism was wonderful. Few persons of ordinary sensi- 
bilities could long sit under one of his sermons without being 
captivated by him. There is, however, an erroneous opinion 
abroad about magnetism in the pulpit. That it is in some 
sense an element in some human organisms, we admit; but 
much of its power in capturing and leading men to the cross 
is due to the presence of God, to the fellowship of the soul 
with that holy unction which God only can give. This Mr. 
Henninger possessed to an eminent degree. His earnestness 
was intense, so much so that he forgot John Henninger in 
his love for sinners and in the glory of the Lord which en- 
veloped him. He was not only consecrated to God entirely, 
but had a constant fellowship with the Spirit, such fellow- 
ship as warmed his noble nature and sent him to the mul- 
titudes with the most ardent appeals for the salvation of 
sinners. Coming as though he were just from the altar of 
incense in the tabernacle, he was a giant refreshed with new 
wine and on his way to the field of victory and conquest. 
These were the sources of his success. His methods were 
simple and easy. He was a close and prayerful student of 
the truth as set forth in man's depravity and in the plan of 
salvation. He did not trust to the arts of flattery and com- 
promise to win sinners to the cross, but relied upon the truth 
and the power of God to make it effective in the salvation of 
sinners. Hence his assaults upon the fortifications of unbe- 
lief and formality were direct — not in cold, snappish criticism, 
nor in a half-compromising tone, as though inviting capitula- 
tion on halfway ground. Rather, his sermons were as the 
work of a giant tearing down the walls around those who felt 
themselves amply fortified in carnal security, and who, when 
every refuge had been demolished, were compelled to make an 
unconditional surrender. In his enforcement of truth and in 
his heart-searching appeals to the unconverted he was some- 
times grandly eloquent, and some of his perorations were of 
the most persuasive and thrilling character. Every sentence 
on such occasions sparkled with a holy fire that reminded 


one of electric flashes upon the bosom of the storm cloud. 
He was not a seeker after fame. So far as he coveted the 
good opinion of mankind, it was that he might have greater 
facilities for bringing them into the loving and endearing fel- 
lowship of Christ. Circumstances surrounded the preachers 
of Mr. Henninger's day which made a singleness of heart 
and consecration necessary to success. There is much along 
this line for thought and prayer. The mistake of the present 
day consists in supposing that the altered condition of so- 
ciety has in some way modified ministerial obligation ; but 
the fact remains that none of the refinements and fashions 
of society have, in the least degree, mitigated human de- 
pravity. Men and women are now as culpable sinners as in 
the days when John Henninger and his associates preached. 
Nor will God require less in the way of repentance and faith 
now in their conversion than he did then. 

Mr. Henninger was not a classical scholar. He, however, 
made good use of clean-cut English. It was not his habit to 
rely upon rhetoric for success, but upon preaching the word 
in demonstration of the Spirit and power. He was, never- 
theless, an ardent friend of liberal Christian education. On 
this point, as on all others, he was sound to the core, believ- 
ing that the highest education, when sanctified by the Holy 
Ghost, becomes a great power for good and a grand instru- 
ment for the evangelization of the world ; but when not so 
consecrated becomes a fruitful source of self-sufficiency and 
skepticism, and is likely to be turned as a dangerous battery 
against the cardinal doctrines of Christianity. 

Mrs. Henninger was born in Scott County, Va. 
Her maiden name was Jane Anderson. She embraced 
religion in her sixteenth year, but was much opposed 
by her relatives, who were at that time strangers to 
experimental godliness. In 1815 she became the wife 
of Mr. Henninger. She was a woman of superior 
intellectual and moral endowments, and filled her place 
as a preacher's wife admirably. She was a helpmeet 
indeed to her husband under all circumstances, and 


was a thoughtful, affectionate mother to eight lovely 
children. Her house was the home of preachers. 
When dying she said in her calm and usually delicate 
manner: "I have nothing to fear; my way is clear." 

Rev. Ira Falls is responsible for the following anec- 
dote : Mr. Henninger had an appointment to preach 
near where Miss Jane Anderson lived. A friend had 
given him a description of her, extolling her virtues 
and advising him to make her his wife if possible. 
The heart of the preacher became at once deeply en- 
amored of the lovely creature that his imagination 
had pictured. At the hour for preaching Mr. Hen- 
ninger began the service by attempting to read a 
hymn, when the young lady entered the church. By 
the description he had received he recognized her, 
the blood rushed to his head, his heart began to palpi- 
tate, and he was utterly incapacitated for preaching 
or even reading the hymn correctly. The hymn which 
he attempted to read began with, "O for a heart to 
praise my God ;" when he reached the line, "O for a 
lowly, contrite heart," he read it, "O for a loving, 
contrite heart." Observing his blunder, he rectified 
it and proceeded to the next line, which reads, "Be- 
lieving, true, and clean;" this he read, "Loving, true, 
and clean." Finding himself incapacitated for the du- 
ties of the hour, he closed the hymn book, remarking 
as he took his seat that he was unable to preach, and 
knew not why. That he was not able to preach was 
evident, but that he knew not why was not so evident. 
But his lack of candor as to this particular was ex- 
cusable on the maxim enunciated by Washington Ir- 
ving that "All stratagems are excusable in love." It 
is pleasant to know that Miss Anderson had the char- 


ity to forgive the preacher for his failure and lack of 
truthfulness on this occasion, and that she sealed his 
pardon by becoming his wife afterwards. 

Of the children, Eliza married Joseph Hixson, a 
farmer of Bledsoe County, Tenn. ; Narcissa married 
John Starr, who removed to Missouri and engaged in 
farming ; Asbury married Miss Elba Johnson, an elect 
woman of Bledsoe County; Emily married R. H. 
Hudson, of Wilson County, Tenn., and the couple 
settled near Pikeville; Margaret married that excel- 
lent man, Judge R. P. Loyd, of Bledsoe County; 
Mary married Jefferson Sawyer, of Hamilton County, 
Tenn.; Sarah married for her first husband Frank 
Skillern, and for her second William Skillern, farm- 
ers of Bledsoe County ; John S., a bachelor, emigrated 
to Missouri in 1852, where he has since resided, ex- 
cept during the time he spent as a soldier in the War 
between the States. It was the good fortune of the 
entire family to spend their lives amid the rural 
scenes of farm life. I do not know of a better family 
anywhere. Sprung from a man of intellect and from 
a woman of unusual physical, intellectual, and moral 
worth, they have left a posterity that rank high in- 
tellectually, socially, and religiously. 

John Bowman was another pioneer whose labors 
in Holston before the organization of the Conference 
entitle him to mention at this point. He was born in 
Frederic County, Va., September 13, 1773; and left 
this transitory world September 25, 1847, ni ^ ie sev " 
enty-fifth year of his age. He was admitted into the 
Western Conference in 1808. He was one of those 
men whose eccentricities conspire with genuine intel- 
lectual and moral worth to srive them notorietv. 


His parents were members of the Lutheran Church. 
His mind was impressed with something of the fear 
of God before he was four years of age. At times 
for years he felt the conviction of sin, and he some- 
times heartily wished that he had died in infancy, or 
had been some creature without moral accountability. 
He often resolved to be better, but failed to carry out 
his resolutions, and he heartily wished he could only 
feel how hot hell was for one minute ; then he thought 
he would do better. When grown he occasionally 
went to hear Methodist preachers, and was some- 
times awakened by their sermons ; but he soon 
quenched the Spirit, till their preaching did not great- 
ly affect him, and he, in a measure, quit going to hear 
them. At length the grace of God put it into his 
heart to go out every evening after dark and study 
about the uncertainty of life, the certainty of death, 
the length of eternity, heaven, and hell. When night 
came on, he went out and began his meditations, 
when he was so convinced of his sinful state that 
he was afraid that he was out of the reach of mercy ; 
but he resolved that if he went to hell he would go 
praying. However, a reaction took place, and he be- 
came convinced that there was mercy for him. But 
Satan threw another obstacle in his way: he was 
troubled with the fear that if he was converted he 
would apostatize ; he was tempted to believe that there 
were two sins which he could not overcome : playing 
at fives and resenting insults and returning blow for 
blow. He looked upon backsliding with abhorrence, 
and therefore determined to abandon all ideas of reli- 
gion. Having his Bible in his hands, he was about to 
lay it aside ; but at that moment the following words 


were impressed on his mind as plainly as if literally 
spoken by the Lord : "Oft have I striven with you by 
my Spirit, and you have quenched it, putting off your 
return to me; and if you put it off this time, it will 
be the last time that my Spirit will visit you." The 
sentence went through his whole system, agitating him 
from head to foot. Then, and not till then, was his 
heart fully surrendered to Christ and he was enabled 
to believe to the saving of his soul. His burden of 
guilt was removed, and everything he beheld glistened 
with a glorious transfiguration. But he looked for 
the Lord to speak to him and tell him in so many 
words that his sins were forgiven. His disappoint- 
ment in this thing brought upon him sore distress of 
mind. However, on the first day of April, 1802, he 
joined the Methodist Episcopal Church on probation. 

He felt called to preach as a traveling preacher, and 
did not expect a second call to locate. But his con- 
sciousness of his disqualification for the high calling 
of the ministry caused him to hesitate many years. 
He had painful exercises of mind. He was too timid 
to pray in public or talk in love feasts, although he 
felt it to be his duty to take up these crosses. One 
day while doing carpenter's work on the roof of a 
house the conviction that it was his duty to preach 
weighed heavily on his mind; but these words came 
into his mind : "A pretty fellow to preach that cannot 
speak in love feast!" His mind was powerfully agi- 
tated, and he swooned and fell from the house. He 
lay a long time in a cataleptic condition. While thus 
lying he thought he went to heaven, just inside of it, 
that he was there told that his sins were forgiven, but 
that he must go back and preach the gospel. He 


thought that he looked down and saw a congregation. 
When he came to himself, he found that he was badly 
hurt, and he did not recover for a considerable length 
of time. Sometimes he overheard persons saying that 
he would not recover, but he would say in his mind: 
"I know I shall, for I have to preach." In May, 1808, 
he was licensed to exhort, and in August of the same 
year licensed to preach, and recommended to the An- 
nual Conference for admission into the traveling con- 

He began his itinerant career as helper to Ralph 
Lotspeich on Fairfield Circuit, in Ohio. In his sec- 
ond year he was in charge of Carter's Valley Circuit, 
in the Holston country. At the close of his year on 
Carter's Valley Circuit he was discontinued on account 
of ill health, and was not readmitted till 1812. But 
during this hiatus in his itinerant ministry he did a 
good deal of effective pulpit work. After three years 
in Kentucky and Middle Tennessee he returned to 
Holston, and was placed in charge of the French 
Broad Circuit ; and up to the date when he was placed 
on the ineffective list he was appointed from year to 
year to the best circuits in the Holston country, with 
the exception of two years in location, from 1817 to 
1 819, his location having been rendered necessary by 
some lawsuits in which he had become engaged. 
From 1826 to the date of his death he was either 
supernumerary or superannuate. He died in great 
peace in Carter's Valley, Tenn. 

Bowman was a bachelor. He began the ministry 
with some private means, by close economy he saved 
something out of his meager salaries, and left consid- 
erable sums of money to various benevolent institu- 


tions. Among other bequests, he left one thousand 
dollars to the Missionary Society of the M. E. Church, 
South, one thousand dollars to the Chartered Fund, 
and I have before me a statement of receipts by W. 
McClain, Secretary and Treasurer of the American 
Colonization Society, showing that Bowman's resid- 
uary bequest to that society amounted to two thou- 
sand seven hundred and fifty dollars. 

Bowman was above mediocrity as a preacher, es- 
pecially as to the extent and accuracy of his acquaint- 
ance with the doctrines of his Church ; and he carried 
the black flag against all tenets opposed to these. He 
had studied and mastered the Constitution and Disci- 
pline of the Church ; and he was frequently known to 
set bishops and presidents of Conferences right on 
questions of law, and that, too, in a manner which was 
anything but flattering to the self-complacency of the 
rectified parties. 

He had a contempt for insincerity and dissimulation, 
and instances of the kind coming under his notice sel- 
dom failed to meet with a candid rebuke. While on 
a circuit in Western Carolina he happened to be spend- 
ing a day at a house where there were three or four 
small, unruly, badly governed children. The mother 
frequently scolded the brats, protesting that they were 
always worse than usual when strangers were about. 
She threatened them first with one punishment, then 
with another, till finally she began to threaten them 
with "Uncle Bowman." It was: "Quit this or quit 
that, or I'll make Uncle Bowman whip you." Final- 
ly, as if out of patience, she spoke to the preacher, 
who was quietly reading by the fire, and said : "Broth- 
er Bowman, I do wish you would whip those chil- 


dren!" "Well," replied the old man, "I suppose I 
can ;" and laying down his book, he went out, got a 
switch, genteelly flogged every one of them, then took 
up his book and resumed his reading. The good sister 
was much offended, of course, and affirmed that she 
didn't thank anybody for whipping her children ! 
To which the preacher calmly replied : "You asked me 
to do it; I thought it would accommodate you, and, 
with you, I thought they needed it." It was the last 
time, however, that he was ever requested to whip the 
children in that family. 

Bowman, though a plain, blunt man, was sometimes 
adroit in administering public reproofs. At one of 
his meetings two boys behaved badly in the back part 
of the house. Before dismissing he said : "I noticed 
during divine service that two boys in the back part of 
the church behaved badly ; and I would now reprove 
them, but I am afraid to do so; for sometime since I 
severely reproved a young man for behaving badly 
in church, and I afterwards learned that he was an 
idiot, and I have been sorry for reproving him ever 

Many persons who had a slight acquaintance with 
Mr. Bowman regarded him as morose and querulous, 
possessing little of the finer feelings that adorn the 
more refined and cultured ; but in this opinion they 
were mistaken. > He was "a plain, blunt man ;" but, 
withal, far from being coarse or ascetic. He was 
ardently attached to his friends, and was always ready 
to aid them and sympathize with them. Beneath a 
rough exterior there was a vein of profound altruism 
and genuine politeness. 

Few men of any age ever walked more humbly 


with their God, were more regular in their devotions, 
or enjoyed more of the sweet influence of the Holy 
Spirit in their hearts. His associates learned many 
valuable lessons by observing his quiet spirit, his up- 
right walk, his prudent and intelligent conversations, 
and the evidences of his strong and abiding faith in 
the Redeemer of men. 1 

The Hon. William Garrett in a letter published by 
Dr. McFerrin mentions Mr. Bowman. He was in 
charge of Newport Circuit in 1827. The Church was 
at a "standstill," and there was in it the debris of 
backslidden and disorderly members — the accumula- 
tion of many years of lax discipline. Bowman was 
the Hercules to cleanse the Augean stables. He loved 
the Church, realized how essential to its success and 
usefulness was the purity of its membership, and no 
persuasion could dissuade him from calling derelict 
members to account. He believed that it was as 
much his duty to administer discipline as it was to 
pray and to preach. He was eminently a cleanser of 
the sanctuary ; and faithfully did he discharge this 
duty, not with any offensive assumption of authority, 
but with Christian meekness and holy boldness. He 
seldom returned to Conference an increase of mem- 
bers, but usually a decrease. Dram drinkers, dancers, 
card players, wearers of superfluous dress, or neglect- 
ers of class meetings never escaped his vigilance. 
Without positive reformation, they were brought to 
trial. The Church in that day had faith enough in 
God and purity enough to bear this disciplinary rigor. 

'McAnally's "Life and Times of William Patton," pp. 


Revivals usually followed this kind of administration, 
and the preacher who succeeded Bowman was fortu- 
nate in doing so. 

Bowman was a sound theologian, and preached a 
thoughtful sermon; but his delivery was not good. 
As a pastor he was devout and prudent, "holy in all 
manner of conversation." In person he was rather 
large, with a dull, heavy look, which, however, was 
lighted by a keen black eye, indicative of cunning. 1 

Dr. John H. Brunner kindly furnishes the following 
notice of Bowman for this volume : 

Of John Bowman, the bachelor preacher, much might be 
said in his favor. Why he did not marry, I do not know. 
On one occasion he amused a brother preacher by asking 
the question, "Would you like to know the nearest I ever 
came to getting married?" "Yes; please tell me." "Well, 

Sister • one day said she felt very lonesome since the 

death of her husband. I told her that I had reason to be- 
lieve that she did. Then she said that she needed some one 
to take charge of the farm and help her to raise the children. 
I told her that that would be a big undertaking. And that is 
as near as I ever came to marrying." 

He labored faithfully on the charges to which he was sent 
till well advanced in years. He looked carefully to discipline 
and pruned the Churches of many disorderly members. But 
he was gentle in his heart. As a boy, I loved him and loved 
to hear him preach. The mothers of families were his friends. 
Many were the kind little offices he did for them in their 
household cares. The mother of Judge D. M. Key was wont 
to tell that on one occasion, seeing her spinning with a broken 
distaff, he went to the forest and cut and prepared a new 
one, which she kept as a memorial for many years. 

His pay was small on the circuits ; but he saved his money, 

a Hon. William Garrett, in McFerrin's "Methodism in Ten- 
nessee," Vol. II., pp. 514, 515. 


and at last bequeathed a thousand dollars to the Chartered 
Fund for the benefit of worn-out preachers and the widows 
and orphans of such as had died in the work. 

The last sermon I heard him preach was at Hankins's 
Schoolhouse, on the Greeneville Circuit. I think he had been 
sent to fill the appointments of some disabled brother. The 
hearers were few, but to them the sermon was one of 
strength and consolation — the right thing for the occa- 

His death was mourned by a large circle of his kindred, 
my neighbors, as well as by many others to whom he had 
preached, among these my own mother. Sacred be his mem- 
ory ! 

Jesse Cunnyngham was admitted into the Western 
Conference in 1811, and on the division of that Con- 
ference he fell into the Holston Conference, and lo- 
cated in 1826. He was readmitted in 1849, an< ^ 
placed on the superannuate roll. His labors lay in 
Middle Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Holston coun- 
try, mostly in the last-mentioned section. His first 
charge was Holston Circuit. In 181 6 he was ap- 
pointed presiding elder of the Holston District, upon 
which he remained four years. In 1824 he was ap- 
pointed presiding elder of the French Broad District, 
and served in that charge one year. He labored on 
circuits only a few years. Owing to his feeble health 
and the exigencies of a growing family, he was either 
local or on the supernumerary or superannuate lists 
the larger part of his ministerial career. 

He was born on French Broad River, ten miles above 
Knoxville, in Jefferson County, Tenn., October 25, 
1789. His father, 'William Cunnyngham, was a native 
of Alexandria, D. C, and his mother a native of 
Shenandoah County, Va. The family came originally 


from the North, of Ireland, and were sturdy Scotch- 
Irish Protestants. 

About the year 1786 a number of families emigrated 
from Shenandoah Valley, Va., to a section of the 
French Broad River afterwards known as the Taylor's 
Bend and Pine Chapel neighborhoods. Taylor's 
Bend is a few miles above Dandridge, and Pine Chap- 
el was erected on the south side of the river some 
seven or eight miles east of Dandridge. Some of 
these emigrants settled on one side of the river, and 
others on the other side. Among them were the fam- 
ilies of Mrs. Arabella Cunnyngham, and John Winton, 
her son-in-law. Mrs. Cunnyngham was the widow 
of James Cunnyngham, who emigrated to America in 
1769, landed at Philadelphia, and located in Shenan- 
doah County, Ya. After reaching America, he lived 
only sixteen or seventeen years. He was a devoted 
and consistent member of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church when he lived in Ireland, and continued to be 
so to the day of his death. Mr. Cunnyngham was 
married before he left Ireland. The maiden name of 
his wife was Good. She was of a different spirit from 
himself, and would keep her spinning wheel whirring 
while her pious husband was engaged in family devo- 
tions. She was in hearty sympathy with her neigh- 
bors, whose moral training allowed them to take the 
sacrament on Sunday, and to fiddle, dance, and in- 
dulge in all forms of worldly pleasure during the 
week. Before she emigrated to the wilds of Tennes- 
see her husband was called to a more genial clime 
than earth, and to more hallowed associations than 
those of his home and neighborhood. Mrs. Cunnyng- 
ham afterwards found a home in the wilderness of 


East Tennessee, and about the year 1790 she found 
peace in believing, in a revival conducted by John 
McGee. Her daughter, Arabella, had preceded her 
by some years into the kingdom of grace, having been 
happily and soundly converted under Methodist 
preaching in Virginia. The Methodists of the neigh- 
borhood soon erected a chapel, long known as Pine 
Chapel, where a large and influential society was 
afterwards built up. 

James Cunnyngham and wife, Arabella, had six 
children. James, the oldest son, was murdered by 
Cherokee Indians. William married, and ultimately 
removed some twenty-five miles southwest of where 
his mother lived, and built on the main road between 
Knoxville and Greeneville, near Seven Islands. Char- 
lotte, a daughter of James and Arabella Cunnyngham, 
married George Turnley, a son of John Turnley, 
March 3, 1791. She was a sister of William Cun- 
nyngham. William Cunnyngham was the father of 
Jesse Cunnyngham, and grandfather of the late Dr. 
William G. E. Cunnyngham. Arabella Cunnyngham, 
the oldest daughter of James and Arabella Cunnyng- 
ham, married John Winton before they emigrated to 
Tennessee ; and she was the chief instrument in bring- 
ing the ' settlement on the French Broad to a saving 
knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

George Turnley was born in Botetourt County, Va., 
August 3, 1762. He and -his bride removed imme- 
diately after marriage into a snug log cabin of hewn 
logs, fifteen feet square, built by himself before his 
marriage. His wife died in 1834. He himself died 
September 3, 1848, and was buried at Pine Chapel. 

Charlotte Turnley was of small stature, robust, and 


possessed of great powers of endurance. She had 
dark hair, black eyes, and dark complexion. She was 
industrious and energetic, and possessed more tact 
and ability in the management of business affairs than 
her husband. Truly it might have been said of her : 
"She looketh well to the ways of her household." 
She possessed some asperity of temper, which was the 
more apparent by the contrast with the mildness of 
her husband. Her hand was always open " to the 
needy ; her rounds of charity were never forgotten ; 
even in her last days, when she was upon a bed of sick- 
ness, her messages of solid comfort were regularly 
dispatched to those who had learned to expect them. 
She was the mother of fourteen children. She died 
at Mount Pleasant, Jefferson County, Tenn., at the 
age of sixty-four years. 

John Cunnyngham Turnley was the first child of 
George and . Charlotte Turnley. He was born Sep- 
tember 27, 1792. He was a soldier in the war of 1812. 
On his return from the army he stopped with his uncle, 
Rev. John Winton, who resided some twenty miles 
southwest of Knoxville. He then and there entered 
into a contract to build a house for Mr. Winton, and 
completed it in eighteen months. He also built a 
house for his uncle, William Cunnyngham, who lived 
some ten miles east of Knoxville. He married Ma- 
hala Taylor, daughter of Parmenas Taylor, one of 
the first settlers in Taylor's Bend, removed to Dan- 
dridge, and established a hotel. This proving to be a 
financial failure, he removed to a point four miles 
east of Dandridge, established a wagon factory and 
blacksmith shop, and named the place Oak Grove, and 
it still retains the name. His first wife having died, 


he married Mrs. Dorcas Hays, widow of James Hays, 
deceased. 1 Mrs. Dorcas J. Seahorn, a daughter of 
James and Dorcas Hays, and the widow of J. Ponder 
Seahorn, still lives at Oak Grove. Her husband was 
a successful farmer and a devout Methodist. As he 
was the principal contributor to the erection of the 
present Oak Grove Methodist Church, it was named 
for him Seahorn's Chapel. A son-in-law of Mrs. 
Seahorn, Dr. James Campbell Anderson, is a resident 
of Oak Grove, a Methodist, and a successful practi- 
tioner of medicine. 

Having mentioned John Winton, a few additional 
items of history in regard to him and his direct and 
collateral posterity may not be out of place. Bishop 
Asbury mentions Mr. Winton occasionally in his 
journal ; and, as he was one of the first settlers in the 
French Broad country, it is interesting to know some- 
thing of his connections. John Winton was the great- 
grandfather of the Rev. George B. Winton, D.D., the 
present editor of the Nashville Christian Advocate. 
His son William married Mary Mitchell, daughter of 
Rev. Morris Mitchell, and emigrated from Roane 
County, Tenn., to the Osage settlements in Southwest 
Missouri, in the year 1837. William Winton's son, 
George Mitchell Winton, who was for more than 
forty years an itinerant preacher in the St. Louis, 
Southwest Missouri, and Pacific Conferences, was 
then sixteen years old. Another son of John Winton, 
James, married Rhoda Mitchell, a sister of Mary 
Mitchell. Wiley B. Winton, long a prominent mem- 
ber of the Holston Conference, was a son of this 

*"A Biography of the Turnleys," by Parmenas Turnley. 


James Winton, and was, therefore, a double cousin to 
George Mitchell Winton. Jesse Cunnyngham was 
first cousin to William Winton. Rebecca Mitchell, 
sister to Rhoda and Mary Mitchell, married Nathan 
Sullins, and gave to the Church Timothy and David 
Sullins. John A. Winton, a son of James Winton 
and brother to Wiley B. Winton, lived till within a 
few years near Winton's Chapel, in Roane County, 
Tenn., a few miles west of Kingston, and died there. 
The old Winton plantation, that of the Rev. John 
Winton, was about twenty miles southwest of Knox- 
ville. The house was about one hundred yards from 
where Muddy Creek depot now stands. Muddy 
Creek Camp Ground was built on this farm, about 
two and a half miles up the creek from the house. 
The Winton home is now owned by Mr. Warham 
Easely, who came there from Grainger County, Tenn. 
Dr. Robert A. Young was brought up in the neigh- 
borhood of Muddy Creek Camp Ground, and used to 
tell of his boyhood recollections of John Winton, who 
was not only well known as a farmer and local preach- 
er, but also as something of a physical prodigy, as he 
weighed about five hundred pounds. George Mitch- 
ell Winton had two brothers and several sisters. 
One brother stilL lives in Northwestern Arkansas. 
William Winton, grandfather of our George B. Win- 
ton, was a class leader, and three of George Mitchell 
Winton's sons became ministers. W. H. Winton, a 
presiding elder in the Southwest Missouri Conference, 
is one of the survivors, and the other occupies the 
tripod of the Nashville Christian Advocate. 

E. C. Montgomery, who lived many years and died 
in the vicinity of Winton's Chapel, married a sister 


of Wiley B. and John A. Winton. He reared an un- 
usually interesting Methodist family. He was a 
working Methodist, and was often a delegate to Dis- 
trict and Annual Conferences. 

But to return to the thread of our story: At the 
organization of a Methodist Society in the above- 
mentioned French Broad settlement Amos Lewis was 
appointed class leader William Cunnyngham after- 
wards married his daughter against the protest of her 
parents, whose only objection to the marriage was that 
Mr. Cunnyngham was not a professor of religion. 
The objections of the parents were, however, over- 
ruled, and the couple, accompanied by friends, rode 
some twenty miles to the fort in another settlement, 
exposed in their journey to serious danger from the 
Indians, and there a Baptist minister wove the mystic 
tie. The objection to Mr. Cunnyngham was soon re- 
moved by his happy conversion to God. 

Jesse Cunnyngham was converted at a camp meet- 
ing in Jefferson County, Tenn., at the age of sixteen 
years. His was an old-fashioned Methodist conver- 
sion, clear and powerful, and he retained all through 
his Christian life a most comfortable assurance of his 
acceptance with God through Christ. He enjoyed the 
witness of the Spirit in a large degree, and was, there- 
fore, a bright and happy Christian. Love and hope 
were dominant elements of his religious experience. 
At some period in his life he obtained the blessing 
of entire sanctification, and the power it brought made 
him uniformly cheerful and peculiarly powerful in 

He entered the traveling connection in the West- 
ern Conference at about the age of twenty-two. He 





was one of a class of twenty-three. Among his class- 
mates were Jonathan Stamper, George Ekin, Thom- 
as D. Porter, and William McMahon, men of prom- 
inence in their day. 

Mr. Cunnyngham left in manuscript a short but 
very interesting account of his conversion and call to 
the ministry. The manuscript is before me. When 
he was about two years old, his father purchased a 
farm in Sevier County ; but about that time the Cher- 
okee Indians renewed hostilities, killed two of Jesse's 
cousins, and on the day of the burial they waylaid the 
road to the graveyard and killed his father's youngest 
brother. A few days after that they stole a valuable 
horse of his father's. These events led Mr. Cunnyng- 
ham to remove his family back to Jefferson County. 
Two or three years later he removed to Knox Coun- 
ty. Mr. Cunnyngham embraced religion about the 
time of the birth of Jesse, and was to him one of the 
best of fathers. He was an exact and careful man 
in his business, and especially careful in the training 
of his children. He diligently taught them the fear of 
the Lord both by precept and example. He was a 
Methodist, and regulated his life by the Methodist 
Discipline. He corrected his children when they de- 
served it, but not cruelly. They feared and loved him. 
He was accustomed to take Jesse with him every day 
and pray with him in secret. He often told his chil- 
dren with tears in his eyes what would be their end 
if they feared and served the Lord, and also what 
would be their end if they did not. His mother heart- 
ily joined in this blessed work. In the absence of 
Mr. Cunnyngham, Mrs. Cunnyngham kept up the 
family devotions. Mr. Cunnyngham's house was a 


preachers' home, and on religious occasions he enter^ 
tained not only the preachers but others in great 
numbers. Jesse Cunnyngham remembered that at 
a quarterly meeting in his father's neighborhood his 
father fed nearly a hundred horses with their riders, 
besides several persons who came on foot. The peo- 
ple said, "The Methodists will eat Cunnyngham up;" 
but he had an abundance while he lived, and when 
he died he had property enough to settle his children 
comfortably. This looks somewhat like the ancient 
miracle of the barrel of meal and the cruse of oil. 
The preachers who stopped with him frequently 
talked with Jesse, and endeavored to lead him to 
Christ. The Methodist preachers of that day heartily 
believed the gospel which they preached, and they 
could not be at ease while men and women around 
them were living in sin. Jesse was deeply impressed 
from his earliest recollection with the necessity of reli- 
gion. He dreaded an angry God and the hell into 
which he believed the wicked would be driven. After 
doing anything wrong he often feared the devil would 
come and carry him off, and sometimes feared to go 
to sleep lest he would have him before morning. He 
cried to God with the most fervent prayers, and re- 
solved to reform. He dreamed of demons coming to 
carry him away, and again of huge Indians coming, 
seizing him, and carrying him off; and he regarded 
an Indian as no better than the devil. Then again 
he would dream that God had converted his soul, and 
when he awaked he felt sensibly the joys of which 
he had dreamed. When he attended meeting he 
would be deeply affected, and would vow to do better. 
He thought himself too young to join the Church, 


but kept up his secret devotions. The death of his 
father's mother about this time deepened his convic- 
tions. He was about fourteen years old. By the 
advice of his father he joined the Church, and now 
felt under increased obligations to serve God. But 
he soon fell into bad company, and became irregular 
in his life. At about the age of sixteen he attended 
a camp meeting. Here his religious concern was re- 
newed, and under a powerful exhortation of the Rev. 
Thomas Wilkerson he kneeled at his seat for the 
prayers of God's people. In his distress he fancied 
he saw an opening in the earth near him, and the lurid 
flames of hell darting upward through it. He seemed 
to be so situated upon the verge of this opening that 
he would have slipped down into hell but for a local 
preacher who held him in his arms. Two devils 
seemed to be standing, one at one side of the opening 
and the other at the other, ready to seize him when he 
fell ; but at that moment his burden fell off, his dark- 
ness fled away, and he hoped that the change was of 
the Lord. He wondered what was the matter ; he felt 
very strange ; he thought, "Perhaps this is religion," 
but he was not sure of it, although he was praising 
God. He had always thought that if he got religion 
he could pray ; and attempting to pray, he found it to 
be the easiest thing in the world, and then he was 
sure that the work was of the Lord. He soon began 
to pray in public and to exhort, and often became 
happy and shouted aloud. He was profoundly im- 
pressed that it was his duty to preach ; but, strange to 
say, his pious father, who had so earnestly encouraged 
him to seek God's pardoning love and was so rejoiced 
at his conversion, was opposed to his entering the 


traveling connection. He wished him to be a local 
preacher. Accordingly by his father's advice he en- 
gaged himself to be married to a young lady of the 
community; but the Spirit of God in a measure for- 
sook him, and he was very miserable; and he now 
promised God to do his duty, if he would show him 
what that was. The joys of the great salvation were 
then restored to him, and he began to hold meetings 
with great popularity and success; and under power- 
ful divine impressions and by the advice of the preach- 
ers he took license to preach, and soon found himself 
in regular itinerant harness. This brief sketch of Mr. 
Cunnyngham's exercises before and after conversion, 
and especially his mental conflicts in view of his en- 
trance upon the ministry, is a faint picture of the 
depth and intensity of the mental experiences which 
he depicts in detail in his journal. Even after his 
entrance upon his itinerant labors, he had awful ap- 
prehensions of his unfitness for the work, and dread- 
ful fear lest he had run before he was called. But 
his clouds eventually lifted, and he had a ministerial 
career of great joy to himself and great usefulness to 

One word about his dreams and visions : His pro- 
found religious exercises were naturally carried into 
dreamland, for the character of our dreams is gen- 
erally indicative of our moral and spiritual" condition. 
Also in the hour when sin was dying and new life was 
ready to spring up in him, his imagination assisted 
his faith. The subjective readily assumes the sem- 
blance of the objective in children and persons of lim- 
ited education. It is one of the compensations of na- 
ture that the imagination often supplies the deficien- 


cies of reason. For this cause the earlier history of 
any race is usually characterized by the gift of poetry 
and romance, and illiterate people are more likely to 
be favored with dreams and visions and bodily exer- 
cises than persons of greater intelligence. For a 
similar reason the introduction of the Jewish and 
Christian religions was accompanied by displays of 
miraculous power. 

Mr. Cunnyngham's promotion to the presiding eld- 
ership in the fifth year of his ministry shows the con- 
fidence reposed by the authorities in his piety as a 
Christian and his ability as a preacher. His appoint- 
ment to a district embracing his own home also shows 
that his reputation before he entered the ministry and 
that of his family worked no disadvantage to him. 
This was a hard district, embracing, as it did, the hilly 
and mountainous country of Southwest Virginia, Up- 
per East Tennessee, and a small portion of North Car- 
olina. His labors, though crowned with popularity 
and usefulness, were attended with exposure and suf- 
fering. His health was in a measure broken down, 
and this fact led to his superannuation in 1820. 

On December 16, 18 19, Mr. Cunnyngham was hap- 
pily married to Miss Mary Etter, who was to him an 
angel of mercy. They reared a large family of chil- 
dren, brought them up in the fear of God, and they 
became ornaments of society and an honor to their 
parents. The Rev. William G. E. Cunnyngham, one 
of his sons, came to eminence. He was for a num- 
ber of years missionary to China, and for a long time 
after was the Sunday School Secretary and Editor of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

Mr. Cunnyngham was remarkable for his meekness, 


patience, and cheerfulness. His last days were at- 
tended with much suffering from a cancerous affec- 
tion of his face. He belonged to the pioneer period of 
Holston Methodism, its heroic age. His character 
was peculiarly mild and amiable, wanting in the bold 
and rugged features which characterized many of his 
contemporaries. His mind was clear and active, with 
a fondness for abstract speculation. His literary op- 
portunities were limited ; but he was not without read- 
ing, and in some contributions of his to the Methodist 
Episcopalian, edited by Dr. Patton, he wielded the 
pen of a ready writer. A richness of fancy and ten- 
derness of affection adorned all his newspaper con- 
tributions. As a preacher he ranked above medioc- 
rity. He was "a son of consolation," winning souls 
to Christ by persuasion rather than by fulminating 
the terrors of the law. He loved his fellow-men, and 
was generally loved. When in his last hours he was 
asked what message he wished to send to his son in 
China, he replied: "Tell him my sky is clear." His 
dust sleeps in a quiet graveyard near Athens, Tenn. 
His devoted and faithful wife sleeps by his side. He 
died in 1857, and she in 1858. 1 

Mrs. Mary Cunnyngham was born in Fincastle, Va., 
and was the oldest child of George Etter. Her par- 
ents were of the Presbyterian persuasion, and her 
mother was a member of the Presbyterian Church. 
They removed to Rogersville, Tenn., when she was 
small. The people of that town were mainly Presby- 
terians in sentiment, and were wealthy, aristocratic, 

'"Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., pp. 337-339; also 
"Methodism in Kentucky," Vol. II., pp. 364-368. 


and worldly. In her early youth she knew nothing 
of "the people called Methodists," but she was taught 
that they were a people of very low character in every 
respect — poor, illiterate, and vicious. 

On a visit to her uncle, a Mr. Wax, in Fincastle, 
Va., she became acquainted with the Methodists, and 
had the privilege of hearing them preach and attend- 
ing class meetings ; and under the powerful ministry 
of the word as then preached by Methodist preach- 
ers she became concerned for her soul. But to get 
her own consent to ask an interest in the prayers of 
the Methodists was to her a sore trial, for she had 
been reared in the spirit and maxims of the world. 
She dressed in the height of the fashions ; and having 
been trained in dancing schools, she. was fond of the 
fascinations and enchantments of the ballroom. To 
surrender dress, dancing, and the society and favor of 
the rich and great, and to cast in her lot with a 
people so austere in religion and so humble in station, 
was a trial that not only demanded zeal, but a hero- 
ism that rose to the morally sublime. But, by God's 
grace, she was equal to the emergency. 

She occasionally presented herself at the mourners' 
bench. About that time the Rev. Frederick Stier held 
a quarterly meeting at Fincastle, and after the Lord's 
Supper penitents were called. As it happened, her 
aunt, who had accompanied her to the meeting, had 
attired her in her best costume, possibly for the pur- 
pose of deterring her from the altar. She wore what 
the Methodists called an "enormous bonnet," which 
was trimmed with eight yards of ribbon. She had a 
heavily embroidered sash around her waist, and her 
dress was ruffled according to the fashion. She de- 





sired to go forward, but was afraid the preachers and 
people would think that she had come forward to ex- 
hibit her clothes. At last she said within herself, 
"The Lord knows my heart ;" and, in a crowded house, 
she went forward with fear and trembling. The Rev. 
Mr. Craven (uncle to Mr. Robert Craven, who for 
many years was a prominent citizen of Chattanooga, 
Tenn.) cried out: "That's right, sister; come to Je- 
sus with all your finery!" This remark greatly re- 
lieved her embarrassment; she felt grateful to him 
for it, and she was much encouraged by it. Next 
day she ripped the ruffles from her dress, left her fine 
bonnet behind, and went to love feast. There she 
joined the Church. On learning of the step she had 
taken, her uncle asked her if she knew the responsi- 
bilities she had assumed ; told her that the Methodists 
were very strict, and that in the Methodist Church she 
would have to give up dress and dancing. She re- 
plied that she had deliberately weighed the matter 
and had counted the cost. She was seventeen years 
old when she joined the Church. She probably did 
not receive the witness of the Spirit till sometime aft- 
erwards. On the death of her mother she was sum- 
moned home to take charge of the family. Her fa- 
ther was very much displeased at her having joined 
the Methodist Church; said to her that Methodist 
preachers were horse thieves, and that the Methodists 
were a degraded people. Satan was very diligent in 
endeavoring to seduce her from her steadfastness. 
She was ticketed to all the dancing parties in the 
community, and young men of good families often 
called upon her and asked the pleasure of her company 
to the house of mirth ; but she had set her face Zion- 


ward like flint, and was inexorable. She gave the 
devotees of pleasure to understand that all invita- 
tions of the kind were offensive to her, and they were, 
accordingly, discontinued. 

The Methodists at that time had no class in Rogers- 
ville; and when she attended Methodist meetings, she 
had to go about five miles into the country, where wor- 
ship was mainly conducted in private houses. Her 
father made no provision to send her to these meet- 
ings. She often walked five miles to class and other 
meetings. The Methodists knew the opposition with 
which she met, took much interest in her, and encour- 
aged her. They gave her assistance in going to and 
from meetings, as far as practicable. One night she 
returned at a late hour from a prayer meeting. The 
family had all retired. After she had gone to her 
room she heard her father struggling and groaning ; 
and, hurrying to his room, she found him almost suf- 
focated, his face swollen, his tongue swollen and hang- 
ing out of his mouth, and he was unable to speak. 
She sent for a physician; and, supposing that her fa- 
ther was dying, she fell upon her knees and prayed 
God to save his soul. The physician came and gave 
him relief. Afterwards her father told her that it 
was her religion that had saved his life; that if the 
prayer meeting had not been kept up to a late hour 
he probably would have failed to get help, and would 
have died. She replied that she hoped she had 
been the means of not only saving his life, but of 
saving his soul. After that he never hindered her in 
the service of God, but always provided a way for her 
to get to and from church. He often sent her as far 
as from fifteen to twenty miles to quarterly meetings. 


What an apt illustration was this of the disciplinary 
character of affliction! The baptism of the Holy 
Ghost often follows the baptism of fire; afflictions 
break a way to the heart for God. The same God 
now confounds the wicked who in ancient times put a 
hook in the nose of the king of Assyria and a bridle 
in his mouth and turned him back by the way by 
which he came. 

"Afflictions, though they seem severe, 
Are oft in mercy sent." 

It was so in this case. 

This pious lady was the means of the conversion of 
many of her relatives. Two of her sisters married Meth- 
odist preachers. One married the Rev. James Howell, 
and the other the Rev. Charles Miller. Her personal 
charms and deep piety had attracted the attention of 
Presiding Elder Cunnyngham, and she became his 
wife in 1819, while he was on the Holston District. It 
was a happy union. 

Her son, William, used, when a boy, to write com- 
positions and bring them to her to criticise. She 
would encourage him, saying: "That does very well. 
If you continue to improve, you may make a good writ- 
er some day." This gave him great encouragement, 
and stimulated him to industry and perseverance. She 
often remarked that she had gone through much trou- 
ble to be a Methodist, but that she was more than 
compensated for all her tribulations by having a son 
to hold up the cross before the world. She fell asleep 
in Jesus at the residence of her son-in-law, Robert 
Craven, on Lookout Mountain, near Chattanooga, 
May 28, 1 868, in the seventy-seventh year of her age. 


How true is it that godliness has the promise of the 
life which is, as well as of that which is to come ! How 
true is it that those who forsake all for Christ find 
a hundredfold more of real blessedness even in this 
world, to say nothing of the blessedness of the world 
to come ! 


George Ekin and His Times. 

George Ekin was born near Newtown- Stuart, 
Tyrone County, Ireland, May 22, 1782. His father, 
whose name he bore, was of Scotch ancestry, a stone 
mason by trade and also a fanner. His mother, whose 
maiden name was Margaret Ford, was of English 
extraction. His parents were members of the Pres- 
byterian Church. His father had once been deeply 
convicted of sin under Methodist preaching and had 
joined Society, but opposition caused him to stop 
short in his pursuit of genuine regeneration. His 
early religious training was after the old, formal 
Presbyterian regime : close confinement in the house 
all day Sunday, with a faithful study of the Catechism, 
prayers in the evening, and none on any other day of 
the week. The religious exercises of the family took 
on a little extra diligence just before sacramental 
meetings. On Sundays the homiletic menu upon 
which the congregation was fed consisted of a dry, 
lifeless discourse upon some theme of theology or 
practical religion. At the age of seven he was taken 
by his mother one night to hear a Methodist preacher. 
The preacher's earnestness and zeal, so different from 
the preaching to which he was accustomed, had a pow- 
erful effect on him. He was alarmed and awakened ; 
and if, as he afterwards believed, he had had proper 
instruction, he in all probability would have given 



himself to God and found Jesus precious to his young, 
susceptible heart. He, however, never reflected upon 
his parents for his lack of appropriate guidance at 
this time; for, as he believed, they were living up to 
the teachings of their times. His convictions wore 
off, his mind was alienated from God by wicked as- 
sociations, and he continued to grow up in sin till 
again arrested in his wild career by the death of a 
brother. The books which he read pointed to no 
sure and heartfelt relief. They did not teach that 
Christ died for all, and that all may be saved ; nor 
did they teach the direct witness of the Spirit to the 
fact that the regenerate are born of God, which doc- 
trine, though denounced as "unscriptural, false, fanat- 
ical, and of mischievous tendency," he afterwards, in 
a long life of consecration to the service of God, 
proved to be "a wholesome doctrine and very full of 
comfort." At the age of fifteen he attended a Meth- 
odist class meeting, and there he received a fresh 
awakening and such instruction in the way of salva- 
tion as proved to be of great spiritual advantage to 
him. At that class meeting he joined the Society as 
a seeker of religion, and a short time afterwards 
was appointed class leader. It was a case of the 
blind leading the blind, though both were mercifully 
saved from the ditch. After six months of deep con- 
viction, day broke upon his long night of agony. One 
day he retired to a secret spot on his father's farm 
and pleaded earnestly for pardon and peace. In his 
struggle he caught, by faith, a glimpse of Jesus, the 
Man of Calvary, which sent a thrill of rapture through 
his soul, too sweet to be expressed and too well at- 
tested to be misunderstood. He had a clear and sat- 


isfactory sense of pardoned sin which he never doubted 
to the clay of his death. He soon began to exhort 
with power; and his exhortations having been fol- 
lowed by conversions, some of his friends urged him 
to ask for authority to preach. He began to preach 
without license on Newtown-Stuart Circuit ; however, 
before the preacher left the circuit he gave him license 
to preach. He was then about twenty-two years old. 
But his pathway was not without thorns. His fam- 
ily opposed him, and spoke evil of the people with 
whom he had cast in his lot. His old playmates 
seemed driven of the devil to tempt and harass him. 
One in particular seemed resolved upon his ruin, but 
he said to him plainly: "If you will not go with me 
to heaven, be sure I will not go with you to hell." 
About this time it was reported that he had gone 
crazy; but he replied: "It is a mistake; I have just 
come to my right mind." 

Ekin's father was a man of some property. After 
his son had become a Methodist preacher he said to 
him that in the division of his land among his chil- 
dren he would 'disinherit him if he did not abandon 
the Methodist ministry. He replied : "I feel it to 
be my duty to preach ; and I intend to preach, land 
or no land." By industry and economy he became 
possessed of a house and a clever stock of goods. 
Meanwhile he had married a Miss Mary Steele. Not 
satisfied with secular pursuits, he resolved to devote 
his life to preaching, and by the consent of his wife 
he resolved to remove to America. After a six weeks' 
voyage he arrived in Baltimore May 1, 1810. 

Mr. Ekin had strict views of law and order, and he 
did everything methodically and systematically. Ac- 


cordingly, when he left Ireland for America he 
brought with him a certificate of his Church mem- 
bership and his standing as a local preacher; for he 
had labored as a local preacher about six years. It 
was in the form of a letter addressed on the back 
"'To the Leaders, Trustees, Stewards, Deacons, Min- 
isters, and Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
in-America.'' It read as follows: 

The bearer, George Ekins, and his spouse, Mary, are 
members of the Methodist society in this circuit, and have 
been since their childhood. Our brother has preached, and 
does preach, as a local preacher with acceptance among us 
even to this day. He and his dear partner have always con- 
ducted themselves prudently, religiously, and godly while 
with us, and I trust they will continue to keep themselves in 
the love of God unto the end. I believe they have a just 
cause for removing to America, and I do hereby recommend 
them, as above, to all our brethren wherever they shall come 
or settle in the Methodist Episcopal Church in North Amer- 

Signed: John McArthur, 

Superintendent of Ncwtoivn-Stuart Circuit; 

William Fode, Helper. 

Newtown-Stuart, February 7th, 1810. 

The above is a copy from the original letter which 
is in my possession. I have also in my possession the 
original certificate of his licensure to preach in Amer- 
ica, and the following is a true copy : 

"George Eakin applied to us for liberty to preach as a local 
preacher in our circuit ; and after due inquiry concerning his 
gifts, grace, and usefulness, we judge he is a proper person 
to be licensed for this purpose, and accordingly authorize 
him to preach." Jonathan Jackson, Pres. 

Union Circuit, August 26th, 1810. 

The certificate was in quotation marks as above, 


and was doubtless a quotation from the records of 
the Quarterly Conference which voted the license. 
Jackson was at that time presiding elder of the Ca- 
tawba District, South Carolina Conference, and Union 
Circuit was in that district. He was recommended 
to the Western Conference at a quarterly meeting of 
the French Broad Circuit, held at Muddy Creek, in 
Roane County, Tenn., in August, 181 1, and admitted 
into that Conference at its last session, in Cincinnati, 
in September of the same year. His first charge was 
French Broad Circuit. This circuit at that time em- 
braced wholly or in part the counties of Roane, Blount, 
Sevier, Jefferson, Cocke, Knox, Anderson, and Camp- 
bell, and required him to travel about four hundred 
miles on each round. 

At the division of the Western Conference in 18 12 
Mr. Ekin fell into the Tennessee Conference, and at 
the division of the Tennessee Conference in 1824 he 
fell into the Holston Conference, in which he spent 
the remainder of his useful life. He was eminently 
a Holston man, having never had a charge outside of 
the Holston country. He was never appointed to a 
town or city station, and was never promoted to the 
presiding eldership. He labored in all sections of 
the Conference, from New River to Lookout Moun- 
tain and from the Alleghanies to Cumberland Moun- 
tain. He filled with dignity, acceptability, and use- 
fulness the best circuits in the Conference. Placed 
technically on the superannuate roll only a few years 
before his death, he continued to labor almost inces- 
santly and with success. 

I have before me an old document certifying to 
Mr. Ekin's authority to solemnize the rites of matri- 




mony in the State of Virginia, which reads as fol- 

This is to certify to all whom it may concern that at a 
court held for Washington County, on the 21st day of Decem- 
ber, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirteen, 
George Ekins produced credentials of his ordination, and also 
of his being in regular communion of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, took the oath of allegiance to the common- 
wealth and the oath to support the Constitution of the United 
States, and entered into bond as required by "an act to regu- 
iate the solemnization of marriages, prr'iibiting such as are 
incestuous or otherwise unlawful, to prevent forcible and 
stolen marriages, and for punishment o.. the crime of bigamy ;" 
and that he is thereby authorized to celebrate the rights of 
matrimony agreeably to the fo,rms and customs of said 
Church between any persons to him regularly applying there- 
for within this State. Given under my hand and seal the 
day and year above written. 

[Seal.] Jno. Houston. 

The following is a copy of Mr. Ekin's naturaliza- 
tion papers : 

Be it remembered that at a circuit court begun and held 
in the County of Hawkins, in the State of Tennessee, at the 
courthouse in Rodgersville on the first Monday in April, in 
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty, 
present the Honorable Samuel Powell, Judge, the Rev. George 
Aiken of thirty-six or thirty-seven years old, a native of Ire- 
land, this day came into open court, and makes known and 
declares his intention of becoming a citizen of the United 
States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to 
any foreign prince, potentate, State or sovereignty whatever, 
and particularly to the kingdom of Great Pritain and Ire- 
land, of which he is a citizen. 

State of Tennessee. 

I, Willie B. Mitchell, clerk of the circuit court of Haw- 
kins County, in the State aforesaid, do certify that the fore- 
going is a true and perfect copy from the records in my 


office. In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my 
name and affixed my private seal, having no seal of office, 
at office in Rogersville, this 26th July, 1823. 

[L. S.] W. B. Mitchell, Cl'k. 

Mr. Ekin was a thorough believer in the gospel 
which he preached. At all of his appointments, or 
at least at the most of them, he labored directly for 
the salvation of souls, and looked for immediate re- 
sults. Preaching with him was not a mere profession ; 
it was a call, a loud, unmodified, and irrevocable call, 
of God. Accordingly, he seldom preached without 
opening the door of the Church for the reception of 
members. He received seekers as well as professors; 
for, with the Methodists of his day, he held that the 
Church was the proper place to get religion in, as 
well as to enjoy and practice it. These facts will, in 
some measure, account for his extraordinary success 
in "edifying the body of Christ" — that is to say, in 
adding to the membership of the Church. A mem- 
orandum of his made about the year 1851 says: 

I have received into the Church in America upward of 
ten thousand persons ; and as near as I can ascertain, about 
eight thousand persons have been converted under my min- 
istry. I have kept no account of the number I have bap- 
tized, though the number has, no doubt, amounted to several 
thousands. I have been a traveling preacher upward of 
forty years, and I believe I have almost averaged one sermon 
per day, or about fourteen thousand sermons in all. I have 
traveled about five thousand miles per year, and I do not 
believe that I have disappointed my congregations forty times 
in the forty years. 

Mr. Ekin preached about five years after this note 
was made, and in that time must have added consid- 
erably to the figures above. He was appointed to the 


Nollichucky Circuit in 182 1, and served the charge 
two years. His success on this circuit was phenom- 
enal. It embraced a large territory, comprising most 
of the appointments in Greene, Cocke, Sevier, and 
Jefferson Counties. Absalom Harris, a young and 
ardent preacher, was Ekin's helper ; and James Axley, 
a giant in those days, was a supernumerary on the 
charge, though far from being, even at that time, a 
non-preaching prelate. In 1822 Mr. Ekin was re- 
turned to this circuit, with J. Rice and D. B. dim- 
ming as helpers. When Mr. Ekin was first appointed 
to this large work, he found the state of religion rather 
low; there were on it what he called "very difficult 
cases," by which he meant cases of discipline, most of 
them growing out of the question of slavery. His 
predecessors had rigidly enforced the slavery rule, 
harassing local preachers and members, and refusing 
to license as preachers men of gifts and graces who 
happened to be entangled with the peculiar institution. 
Mr. Ekin, though himself stoutly antislavery, adopted 
a broad, liberal, and conciliatory policy, which tended 
to quiet the Church and to allow the attention of the 
people to be directed to purely spiritual things. His 
associates entered into his views, and heartily co- 
operated with him in revival work. Things took a 
favorable turn, the members began to deepen their 
diligence, and there was a noticeable increase in the 
numbers who attended divine service. Three camp 
meetings were held on the circuit in the fall of 1822, 
at which two hundred and sixty-three persons were 
added to the Church. At the camp meeting near 
Newport there were eighty persons at the altar at 
one time. Upward of five hundred and fifty persons 


were added to the Church, most of them in possession 
of the evidence of pardoned sin, during Mr. Ekin's 
first year on that charge. In his second year, as he 
had two assistants, the charge was made a six weeks' 
circuit, and the revival influence continued and in- 
creased throughout the year. During these two years 
the membership on the circuit was raised from eight 
hundred to eighteen hundred. These, indeed, were 
years of great spiritual prosperity in Holston. Mr. 
Ekin attended a camp meeting near Jonesboro, in the 
Holston District, where two hundred and two persons 
joined the Church, and one held near Rutledge, at 
which seventy-four were added to the Church. Dur- 
ing this remarkable season of grace a number of 
wealthy and respectable people joined the Methodist 
Church, from the General down to the poor African. 
A liberal policy toward slaveholders, coupled with a 
mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, swept many a 
good family into the Methodist Church that, but for 
such liberal policy, might have remained in the world 
or gone to other denominations. 1 

Father Ekin traveled the Abingdon Circuit in 1845- 
46. There he found that some of the less wise among 
his Calvinistic brethren were prophesying that the 
Methodist Church was going down and would soon 
be extinct. But he set on foot three new church 
buildings, and dedicated one of them, which he named 
Wesley Chapel. He also organized eleven Sunday 
schools, and received into the Church two hundred 
and eighty-five persons. At one place, Baker's Chap- 
el, he had some trouble with his Presbyterian breth- 

1 Mcthodist Magazine for January, 1824. 


ren. The chapel was the joint property of the Meth- 
odists and Presbyterians. There Ekin organized a 
Sunday school without objection; but afterwards the 
Presbyterians objected, and some of them built a 
partition in the chapel on the line between what they 
claimed to be Presbyterian ground and Methodist 
ground; but, unfortunately for the Methodists, they 
had to climb over the partition to get into their part 
of the house, as the door was on the other side. Of 
course this awkward state of affairs did not last long, 
and a complete separation took place. Father Ekin 
did not think that he deserved this treatment from 
what he styled the "Calvin Church," as by his revival 
work he had, in his time, added to it many hundreds 
of people whom they never would have gotten other- 
wise. Among the many memoranda kept by him is 
to be found the following: "November 8, 1846. Dur- 
ing the last four years I have on my list the names 
of one thousand one hundred and ninety-six persons 
who have joined the Methodist Episcopal Church un- 
der me on the Tazewell (Va.), Rogersville, Maryville, 
and Abingdon Circuits ; add to this sixty names of 
persons who have thus far joined the Church on 
Blountville Circuit." And all this in the face of the 
oft-repeated assertion that the Methodist Church was 
going- down ! Father Ekin claimed to be the founder 
of Sunday schools in the Holston country. He 
claimed to have organized a Sunday school in 18 13. 
From his manuscript I cannot make out the name of 
the place ; but doubtless his claim was just. 

It is well known in Methodist circles that for over 
three-quarters of a century the Holston Conference has 
been known abroad as "Little Holston." Father Ekin 


has the honor of having originated this title. In a 
letter to the New York Christian Advocate and Jour- 
nal giving an account of a great fevival that had 
occurred on his work, possibly that of the Nollichucky 
Circuit mentioned above, he closed the account by 
saving.: "I tell ye, Little Holston is looking up." 

The early preachers in Holston were generally anti- 
slavery in their sentiments, while but few of them 
were abolitionists. This statement may seem to in- 
volve a contradiction. The antislavery men were in 
principle opposed to slavery, and favored all lawful 
and peaceable methods for its extermination ; but they 
were opposed to violent measures. The abolitionists 
looked upon slavery as a sin per se, and therefore 
felt it to be their duty to denounce it and antago- 
nize it as they would any other positive immorality. 
They could not recognize a slaveholder as a Chris- 
tian, and hence were for excluding slaveholders from 
the pale of the Church and especially for excluding 
them from the offices of the Church. The Abolition- 
ists, considered as a political party, were revolution- 
ary. They regarded the Constitution of the United 
States as "a league with hell and a covenant with 
death," and declared a war of extermination not 
only against slavery but -against the instrument by 
which the fathers bound together the several States 
in a great federal nationality. Ekin was em- 
phatically antislavery, but equally emphatically anti- 
abolition. He had the good sense to recognize 
the fact that in domestic slavery in the South he 
confronted a condition and not a theory. A similar 
fact had been recognized eighteen hundred years be- 
fore by Jesus Christ and his apostles, who, no doubt, 


while deploring the existence and manifest evils of 
slavery in the Roman Empire, did not denounce it in 
the pulpit nor outlaw, by ecclesiastical action, those 
whom they found to be connected with it. 

But, while Father Ekin was broad and conservative 
anent the peculiar institution, he was not prepared to 
sympathize with the Southern party in the General 
Conference of 1844. When separation was deter- 
mined upon by the Southern delegates and after- 
wards by the Southern Conferences, he resolved to 
adhere to what he called "the old Church." At the ses- 
sion of the Holston Conference in Athens, Tenn., which 
began October 8, 1845, the Conference almost unani- 
mously approved of the action of the Louisville Con- 
vention, and resolved to adhere to the M. E. Church, 
South. But Father Ekin entered on the journal a 
solemn protest against this action, and signified his 
intention to adhere North. But such men as E. F. 
Sevier, William Hicks, and others advised with him, 
and convinced him of the impropriety of breaking 
with the great majority of his old friends and in 
his old age forming new friendships and new rela- 
tionships. A few days of prayer and reflection 
showed him the wisdom of this advice, and, fortunately 
for him, he resolved to adhere South. This step he 
never had occasion to regret. 

In a letter to his grandson, George Eakin Naff, who 
was then a student at Emory and Henry College, 
dated December 5, 1844, he wrote: 

With regard to our doings in Conference, we did not do 
much. If I understood it, we are for peace. For my own 
part, I belong to the M. E. Church. I intend to stick to the 
old ship as long as I live. Bishop A. has brought upon the 



Church a great calamity. Can we not do as we have done — 
serve God without a slaveholding bishop? The North have 
promised that they will not put on us an abolition bishop 
if we will not put on them a slaveholding bishop. This, I 
think, is fair, and I say let the Conferences regulate their 
own business among themselves. 

In regard to the question of separation Father Ekin 
was not by himself ; there were a number of preachers 
and laymen in the bounds of the Conference who 
sympathized with his views. 

The Rev. Eli K. Hutsell, a Holston preacher of 
great piety, wrote to Father Ekin from Asheville, 
N. C, July 21, 1855: 

My principal object in writing to you now is to know 
what we are going to do for a bishop. I see by the last 
Advocate and Journal that Bishop Morris will not be here, 
and I write to you because you are an old man, and I know 
that you, like myself, do not believe in Church division nor 
in the Southern organization. I have no doubt but that you 
still consider yourself a member of the Holston Conference 
of the M. E. Church. You ought, as I believe, to write to 
the Advocate and Journal and inform our brethren that there 
is still a Holston Conference of the M. E. Church, that there 
are still a few of us who claim membership in the old Church, 
and that we want a bishop and want to be recognized by the 
M. E. Church as heretofore. We do not believe that the 
General Conference did anything in the case of Bishop Andrew 
but what was its prerogative to do. We do not believe in a 
slaveholding bishop under the circumstances. 

Mark the expression wider the circumstances. This 
expression of this good man showed that, while he 
was antislavery, he was not what was then termed an 
abolitionist. In another letter to Father Ekin, written 
from Asheville, N. C, and dated September 18, 1845. 


Mr. Hutsell, speaking of the Conference which was 
to assemble in Athens, says : 

Let me know what is done, who goes South and who 
North. I am told that Brother Hicks holds with the old 
Church ; if so, you can have a Conference. Brother Fanning, 
I am told, holds with the North. ... If you write to one 
of the bishops of the M. E. Church to hold Conference, let 
me know. 

It is due to Mr. Hutsell to remark at this point that 
he was neither a disorganizer nor a kicker, and that 
when he found that his Conference had almost unani- 
mously adhered to the Southern organization he quiet- 
ly acquiesced in the new order of things and lived 
and died in the Church, South. He was a holy man, 
very useful and much loved while he lived, and sin- 
cerely lamented when he died. 

In a letter to Father Ekin written from Wytheville, 
Va., September 22, 1845, Mr. James St Clair, a 
pious layman, wrote : 

I was surprised to hear by one of the preachers that you 
are going with the Southern organization ; if so, I would like 
to hear it from yourself, as I was confident that you would 
stand firm to the old ship. Is it possible that you too have 
gone off in a cruise in another ship? As for me and my 
house, we are determined to stay in the old ship till she 
lands on the other shore. Your old friends here are firm. 
I know not one here of the lay or official members who is 
willing to change his position except Brother James C. 
Walker. Our preacher, C. D. Smith, will probably make 
application to Conference to have it meet here next year; 
but I have made inquiry of most of the members of the 
Church here, and I can find none who say they desire it. I 
assure you that if the Conference is determined to go to the 
Southern organization very few of the members here are 
willing to go with them. It is r<y opinion that the preachers 


who liave visited us lately think that having the Conference 
to meet here is. the only chance of bringing us into measures. 
But I think that this will fail to have the effect they desire. 
Brother Absalom Fisher has taken the voice of several so- 
cieties on Cripple Creek, and the people are unanimous for 
staying as they always were. I pray earnestly that God may 
heal the wounds of our distracted Zion, that peace may yet 
reign in all her borders. I and my poor wife are cast off by 
all the preachers, those who have eaten at our table and been 
sheltered from the storms under our roof. Our names are 
cast out as evil; we are called abolitionists, Bondites, etc. 

Father Ekin probably received many such letters 
as the above. These letters show the reluctance with 
which many of our people consented to the division 
of the Church, a thing, however, which was, no doubt, 
providential, and just as inevitable as was afterwards 
the War between the States and the forcible abolition 
of slavery by military power. God, as I believe, saw 
that the conservation of Methodism North and South 
was more important than the preservation of eccle- 
siastical organic unity. The Church was split that 
Methodism might be saved; and it seems to me plain 
that the split has fallen out to the furtherance of the 
gospel as preached by Methodists. The result shows 
that, whoever may have meant the division for evil, 
God meant it for good. 

It matters not whether or not the people wanted 
the Conference in Wytheville, it sat there all the same 
in 1846. It is due to Mr. St. Clair and Mr. Fisher to 
say that they were swept by the irresistible tide into 
the warm bosom of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, where they were happy and useful till God 
said to them : "Come up higher." In the letter of 
Mr, St. Clair it is worthy of note that he regarded 


the term "abolitionist" as a term Of reproach — a fact 
which shows that he was not far from the kingdom. 

The letters to Ekin also show the tremendous 
pressure which was brought to bear on him to in- 
duce him to break with his lifelong friends and breth- 
ren, and to go with the Northern division; but com- 
mon sense, the grace of God, and the continuous and 
affectionate interposition of his brethren soon deter- 
mined him upon a course which he never had reason 
to regret. As a specimen of some of the influences 
brought to bear on him to hold him to Southern 
Methodism, I have before me a letter addressed to 
Father Ekin by the Rev. William Hicks from Speed- 
well, Va., July 10, 1845. The main object of this 
letter evidently was to conciliate Father Ekin to the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The letter shows 
that the writer knew something of human nature, 
and at least of an imperfectly fortified point in Ekin's 
character. He begins by asking permission to write 
his biography. All men have their weaknesses ; and 
not the least of Father Ekin's weaknesses was some- 
thing more than "a decent respect for the opinions 
of mankind." Thus having disarmed his venerable 
brother, Mr. Hicks, seemingly as by an afterthought, 
introduces the question of separation, and says: 

I will now say a word on another subject. The Church 
is divided. This has brought upon us a solemn and trying 
era. In my district matters are in a very unsettled state, but 
every day brings new light on this subject. Dear brother, 
I am sorry that, while we agree on almost everything else, 
we cannot see alike on the question of Church separation. 
I suppose you are unwilling to go with the South. I am firmly 
of the opinion that the South could have done no better. 
Hence 1 am Southern in my feelings. I go not as a seceder, 


but as a member of the M. E. Church (South), and shall 
try to demean myself as such. If you permit me to have the 
honor of writing your memoir, I would like to have it to say : 
"Brother Ekin went with his brethren against Northern en- 
croachments, and in the day of trial 9 stood by those with 
whom he had fought so many years." Nevertheless, if you 
cannot go with us, whatever course you may take shall not 
injure you in my estimation while you labor as you have 
done for years. In all things I shall prove faithful to you, 
whether we go together or separate. 

This letter doubtless had a fine influence on Father 
Ekin. Suffice it to say that the breezes that blew 
Southward were stronger than those that blew North- 
ward, and Ekin was carried with the stronger current. 

Father Ekin was not a man of great intellect, and 
his education was limited. His gifts were moral 
rather than intellectual. As a preacher, he should be 
set down at mediocrity ; as an exhorter, above ; and 
to his gifts as an exhorter may be ascribed, in a large 
measure, his remarkable success in bringing people 
into the Church. His sermons were not incoherent 
and scattering; there was method in his development 
of a subject, and his sermons reasonably preserved the 
unities ; but he had no great insight into the depths 
of his themes, and no great powers of analysis. He 
neither digged deeply nor soared loftily. His ser- 
mons were plain and practical, and their power lay 
mainly in the single aim in them of bringing sinners 
to Christ and edifying believers at once. He preached 
for immediate results. He had as brave a heart as 
ever beat in the bosom of an Irishman. His courage, 
however, was of the moral rather than of the physical 
type. It manifested itself in great candor and plain- 
ness of speech, but not in abusive epithets and bully- 


ing insolence. The principal cause of his success 
as a preacher and pastor was his singleness of pur- 
pose; all his faculties- were brought to bear in focal 
power upon the one object of saving souls. He 
was naturally narrow and intense, and his singleness 
of purpose made him narrower. He was a man of 
decision, never on the fence. You always knew 
where to find him. He was too strong a Methodist 
to be as tolerant of other Churches as he might have 
been. He knew but little of politics ; but he called 
himself a Democrat, and he had a great abhorrence 
of Whiggery. He wrote to his grandson, George E. 
Naff, in December, 1844: "I have been sorry about 
one thing that I did : I advised a young man, Mr. 
Waterson, to go to E. & H. College last summer. 
He was a Democrat, and he told me himself that the 
Whigs at the college treated him so that he could 
not stay there. I was once going to write to Mr. 
Collins on the subject; but I let it pass. I want 
you, my son, to have nothing to do with Whiggery !" 
He preached in Sullivan County, Tenn., once, and at 
the close of his sermon called on a Sister Cox, who 
sat near the pulpit, to pray. In his sermon he had 
occasion to say that he hoped the Lord would put 
down the devil and Whiggery, or words to that ef- 
fect. In the prayer Mrs. Cox prayed for the Lord 
to deliver us from political preachers. As soon as 
the prayer was ended he was on his feet, and as Sister 
Cox arose he tapped her on the shoulder and said: 
"Ye ded wrong, sester, and so ye ded." 

He had a very kind heart, but there was occasion- 
ally a little sarcasm in his public and private reproofs. 
In preaching once in the chapel of Emory and Henry 


College, he said: "Boys, bear in mind that many of 
your parents have no money to throw away, and you 
ought to put in your time to the best advantage. You 
ought to stay here, if your parents will allow it, until 
you get a good education, and not do like that man 
Austin, who went over into Tazewell County and mar- 
ried and disgraced himself." There was nothing in 
that matter, except that a student by that name had 
paid a visit to Tazewell County and, falling in love 
with an excellent young lady, had married her and 
withdrawn from college. 

In passing from one appointment to another, if 
there was a family on his route with which he was 
not acquainted, he would, if time permitted, stop, go 
in, and inquire after this style, "Will ye please tell 
me who lives here?" and on being informed, the next 
question would likely be, "Do ye have prayers in 
your family?" If the answer was in the negative, 
something like the following would be heard : "Ye 
ought to be ashamed of yourselves, living here like 
heathen, living upon the bounty of the Lord and giv- 
ing him no thanks, and never asking his blessings 
upon you. Get down upon your knees till I pray 
for you." This and much more of the same charac- 
ter would, at first, often give offense to many ; but 
likely as not they would be converted and join the 
Church before the end of the year. 

The Rev. Andrew Hunter, at one time a member 
of the Holston Conference, was once on a journey 
with Father Ekin. Hunter, who was a dyspeptic, 
was finikin about his diet, and many things were 
brought to the table which he could not eat with 
safety. Ekin, discovering this, occasionally nagged 


him with the Scripture injunction: "Eat, asking no 
question for conscience' sake." On one occasion they 
requested an early breakfast of the landlady. That 
the breakfast might not be delayed, Father Ekin 
had requested the lady to prepare hasty pudding (com- 
monly called mush) for theii* breakfast. Dipping 
the water from the spring before daylight, she had 
unfortunately scooped a frog, which was cooked with 
the mush. When Ekin had helped himself to the 
mush, he discovered to his dismay that a frog had 
been set before him, and as he pushed the plate back 
in disgust Hunter said : "Father Ekin, eat asking no 
question for conscience' sake." "What!" replied the 
indignant clergyman ; "eat a frog for conscience' sake?" 

This anecdote shows that Father Ekin understood 
the maxim that "Circumstances alter cases," and real- 
ized that much depended on whose ox had been gored. 

To the same purpose is the following anecdote : Fa- 
ther Ekin used to rebuke his friend, William G. Brown- 
low, for carrying a pistol, saying to him: "Brother 
Brownlow, you ought not to carry a pistol ; you ought 
to trust in the Lord." But it happened that on one 
occasion Ekin, Brownlow, and other preachers were 
on their way to Conference in a stagecoach. They 
were passing at night through a stretch of wilderness 
country, where there had been a hold-up and a rob- 
bery a few nights previously. Ekin with all his trust 
in the Lord began to feel a little nervous, and, turning 
to Brownlow, said : "Billy, have you got your pistol ?" 
On receiving an affirmative reply he said: "That's 
right, Billy." 

Brownlow used to tell that while Father Ekin was 
spending a few days at his house in Jonesboro a 


Whig torchlight procession marched along the street 
one night, with shouts and groans. Ekin, when re- 
quested to go out upon the portico to witness it, re- 
fused, saying: "It's blasphemy!" But a few nights 
afterwards a Democratic torchlight procession passed 
the house; and Ekin, going out from the portico and 
witnessing the pageant, remarked: "It's perfectly 
magnificent !" 

In a letter to the Holston Methodist published in 
1874 the Rev. Samuel D. Gaines says: 

Father Ekin possessed in an eminent degree the art of 
conducting camp meetings. He knew when and where to 
strike, and he was always ready to reprove sin whether in 
high or low places. Such was his blunt manner of rebuking 
that he was a terror to evil doers. I have often heard him 
say that he felt that he had not accomplished much in preach- 
ing if he had not caused some one either to be angry or to 
weep. At one time he met at my house with one of my 
neighbors, who was laboring for me. Family prayers being 
announced, the neighbor was invited to engage in the serv- 
ice with us. He declined to do so for the reason that he 
could not spare the time and that it was a useless exercise. 
At the breakfast table Ekin, looking him in the face, said : 
"Brother, you could not take time to pray? Remember, you 
have to take time to die. Do you ever pray with your chil- 
dren?" The man replied in the negative, and left the table 
with oaths and threats. That day there was circuit preach- 
ing, and as Ekin passed the man at his work he hallooed at 
him and said : "Brother, get in a good humor and come out 
to-night to hear a preacher who is all the way from Ireland." 
Night came on, the man attended, was smitten with convic- 
tion of sin, happily converted the same night, and returned 
to his family praising God. That man made a useful mem- 
ber of the Church, and was ever afterwards one of Father 
Ekin's best friends. His family was soon afterwards re- 
ceived into the Church. 


Father Ekin was not opposed to shouting, but he 
despised hypocrisy. At one of his camp meetings, in 
the midst of an excitement, a woman came into the 
altar making a great deal of noise, throwing her arms 
about rather awkwardly, when he said to her in a 
kind tone : "Stop, sester, ye shout badly." 

One of his years on Maryville Circuit was a year of 
great spiritual prosperity. At one of his meetings he 
notified three brethren that he intended to call upon 
all of them to pray at one kneeling — alternately, of 
course. The first prayed, as he should have done, a 
short prayer; the second was quite long-winded, so 
that Father Ekin became impatient, arose, and began 
to sing before the prayer was ended: 

"Show pity, Lord ; O Lord, forgive ; 
Let a repenting rebel live." 

The congregation having arisen, he said to the offend- 
ing brother: "Brother, ye prayed too long, and so ye 
ded ; ye would wear out the patience of your God !" 
He then resumed the hymn, and after singing another 
couplet he remarked very kindly to the third brother : 
"Brother, I treated ye badly, not allowing ye to pray; 
but never mind it, I will give ye a chance yet before 
the meeting is over." 

A number of men by name of Cumming at one time 
belonged to the Conference. They were estimable 
men, but by no means favorites with Father Ekin. 
At one of the Conferences another of the Cummings 
was presented for admission on trial, when Father 
Ekin promptly arose to his feet and inquired : "Bishop, 
I want to know ef the Lord is going to call all the 
Cummings to prache!" Of course, the remark only 


provoked an audible smile, in which the Cummings, 
no doubt, heartily joined. 

At one of Father Ekin's revival meetings a drunken 
man was hired by his comrades to go to the mourners' 
bench. The preachers, having been privately informed 
of the scheme, were at a loss how to get rid of the 
unwelcome mourner. Father Ekin said to them: 
"Never mind, I'll manage him." He stopped the sing- 
ing and called the congregation to prayer, and then 
began confessing the sins of the mourner somewhat 
after this fashion, "O Lord, here is another poor sin- 
ner, who has come forward to seek religion. We 
pray thee to have mercy on him, for he is a hard case. 
He has drunk barrels of mean whisky in his time, 
and he is now drunk as a batle; he has sworn many 
an oath and told many a lie ; he has robbed many a 
henroost and" — here the prayer was interrupted by 
the flight of the sinner. 

While the "New Version" controversy was raging, 
Father Ekin in a sermon at an East Tennessee camp 
meeting broached the question, saying : "The Baptists, 
not being able to prove immersion by the old Bible, 
have gotten up a new Bible to suit their notion, in 
which they have immerse in the place of baptise/' 
There was a Baptist preacher in the audience, Elder 
Cate. After the sermon he arose and asked the priv- 
ilege of correcting a mistake into which Father Ekin 
had fallen. He said the Baptists, as such, had not 
published a new version; that Father Ekin was sim- 
ply mistaken. Ekin replied : "I am not mistaken, sir ; 
and if ye will give me time, sir, I'll prove that I have 
told the truth." Accordingly he wrote to Mrs. Gov- 
ernor Floyd, who then lived in Richmond, Va., re- 


questing her to procure and send to him a copy of the 
new version, and she did so. At the next camp meet- 
ing at that place Father Ekin and Mr. Cate were both 
present. Near the close of one of the services, Father 
Ekin requested the preacher to allow him to speak a 
few words, and the permission was granted. Said 
he: "Ye remember that a year ago I stated that the 
Baptists had gotten up a new Bible, and Brother Cate 
had the assurance to contradict me, as much as to 
give me the lie ; and I want the people to know who 
the liar is, if a lie is out. I have sent all the way to 
the good wife of Governor Floyd, in Virginia, for a 
copy of the Baptist Bible, and now I ask that some 
brother take the new Bible in his hand and let me 
hold the old Bible, and let us read publicly and com- 
pare." The comparison was accordingly made, where- 
upon Elder Cate arose to explain. He said that the 
new version which Father Ekin had was, no doubt, a 
publication made by men of Baptist sentiments, by a 
Baptist Union, or something of that kind ; but that it 
had not been authorized by the Baptist Church as a 
whole or by the Baptist Churches generally. Father 
Ekin replied : "A year ago ye contradicted me pub- 
licly, as much as to make me out a liar; now I have 
proved that I told the truth. Now be honest about it, 
Brother Cate, and acknowledge that ye told a big 
feb P 

Elder Cate was an honest and pious minister, great- 
ly loved and respected by those who knew him. The 
difference after all was only a question of opinion, 
and not of fact. Neither had lied. 

A number of preachers, the writer among them, 
were on their return from a Conference at Wytheville, 


Va., in the fall of 1853. Father Ekin was also one of 
the number. They stopped to spend the Sabbath at 
Sulphur Spring Church, an old log house in Smyth 
County. Father Gannaway, who lived in the neigh- 
borhood, was that day master of ceremonies. After 
a sermon by one of the brethren, Gannaway made the 
announcements, and was about to call for the ben- 
ediction when Father Ekin said : "Ain't ye goin' to left 
a collection?" "What for?" said Gannaway. "Why," 
said Ekin, "to put glass in these windows !" And the 
glass was needed, for the sharp winds were pouring in 
through the open spaces in the sash. "Ah !" said 
Gannaway kindly, "I reckon we can attend to our own 
business." Father Ekin did not really expect a col- 
lection; his object, which was accomplished, was to 
lodge a timely suggestion. 

Solomon says, "The righteous man regardeth the 
life of his beast," and Father Ekin possessed this mark 
of righteousness in a high dgree. He always owned 
a good horse, and he personally saw to it that he was 
well bedded, well fed, and curried. He had a tender 
care for his "Nellie." When one day she had 
fallen into a well he was much distressed, and while 
his friends were extricating her he frequently retired 
to pray that the work of rescue might be successful. 

Dr. Tadlock, of the Presbyterian Church, used to 
tell the following anecdote on Father Ekin. At a 
religious service in Greene County, Tenn., near Rhea- 
town, he said to the people : "I am going to preach, 
take up a collection to carry the gospel to the heathen, 
and then call for mourners; and I will guarantee that 
we shall have a conversion for every dollar you con- 
tribute." The meeting was one of power ; six white 


persons and one* negro professed conversion. On 
counting the money that was contributed the preacher 
discovered that he had six dollars and seventy cents. 
He exclaimed : "Just as I predicted : we have a dollar 
for every white person saved, and seventy cents for 

the negro." 

These are only samples of the large number of 
anecdotes that have been told of Father Ekin. While 
they may amuse the reader, they also serve to bring 
out some of his peculiarities and, I might say, weak- 
nesses. Many other anecdotes of Father Ekin that 
might be repeated in this connection are either apoc- 
ryphal or distorted. 

After measuring the man by the above sketch, the 
reader may wonder at his remarkable success as a 
preacher, and especially at his high standing and wide- 
spread fame. You may be sure that there must be 
both intellectual and moral worth in a man that can 
accomplish what Father Ekin accomplished. Among 
his elements of success you may set down a strict 
congenital and cultivated honesty and integrity of 
character, a courage that never quailed in the face of 
danger, an unwavering belief in the gospel, a deep 
and genuine experience of grace, a persistent prayer- 
fulness, an unflagging activity, a studious neatness in 
person and dress, good business ideas, and a ready 
conformity, as a rule, to the amenities of good so- 

To show that I have not overrated Father Ekin, 
I give here a few statements from the pens of other 

In a letter to the Holston Methodist from Bradford, 


Coosa County, Ala., dated September I, 1873, tne 
Rev. William Garrett says : 

I can never forget George Ekin — his warm, generous heart; 
his attention and kindness to young people ; his cheerful dis- 
position; his deep, unaffected piety; his entire devotion to the 
one business of preaching and saving souls; his patience in 
prosecuting his work through a long life, the work he came 
to America to do. He had some eccentricities and, it may be, 
defects of character, and who has them not? But in the 
scale against his usefulness they were as nothing. 

The Rev. C. D. Smith, D.D., in an article in the 

Hoist on Methodist j says : 

There were some traits in the character of George Ekin 
worthy of special note. He was scrupulously cleanly in his 
person. This habit of cleanliness was not only regarded by 
him as a physical and sanitary obligation, but he cherished 
and cultivated it as a religious duty. He was a firm believer 
in cold water. As an illustration, I give the substance of an 
impromptu temperance speech which I heard him make when 
unexpectedly called out at a temperance mass meeting at a 
Conference in Knoxville. The call was started and rang 
out into a swell in the hall. It was like a thunderclap to him, 
and, springing to his feet, he said : "Mr. President, I'm a 
cold-water man. It's my drink, and I always shave with cold 
water. Mr. President, I'll tell ye a story of a countryman of 
mine. He was a great drunkard, but he was rich and had a 
servant to wait 0:1 him. One time he got down drunk and 
lay stretched upon a sofa in his parlor, and his nose was 
very red. It was warm, and he had his servant to keep the 
flies off of him. The servant was brushing first one way and 
then another, but a little fly dodged in and lit on the old 
man's nose. The servant stopped brushing and, looking at 
the fly, said : 'Ye had better take care, me lad, how yc light 
there, or ye'll burn your feet.' " This was enough, and 
instead of the accustomed applause there went up a general 
shout from the audience. 

Dr. McFerrin says; "Mr. Ekin was eccentric, and 


had attached to him some peculiarities that could not 
have been gracefully worn by others; but in his case 
these idiosyncrasies were not only allowed, but were 
often mentioned with pleasure by those who knew 
him well and rightly appreciated his character and 
temper." 1 

Father Ekin was a great favorite even with wealthy 
and aristocratic families, not only of the Methodist 
Church, but of other Churches and of the world. I 
have in my possession a letter addressed to Father 
Ekin by the Hon. William C. Preston, of South Car- 
olina. It is dated Abingdon, Va., October 23d, 1824. 
In that letter he says : 

My family and I desire that the Elizabeth Church at the 
Saltworks may be dedicated on Sunday, the 6th of next 
month (November), and that you shall be present on that 
occasion. We wish this not only on account of our per- 
sonal respect for you, but also on account of your long and 
intimate connection with my grandmother, whose name it 
bears and a pious regard for whose memory has been as- 
sociated with the other now obvious motives that led to its 
erection. The family have thought that, while it was en- 
deavoring to extend the means of Christian instruction, it 
was not altogether inappropriate to associate them with her, 
who was so eminent an example of Christian piety, whose 
house was a church, and whose life was a worship. As one 
who lived with her in that house and shared with her in 
that worship, I desire your attendance, and feel assured that 
you will bear witness for us that a church dedicated to the 
service of God as a Methodist Church is not unfitly desig- 
nated by her name. 

It is hardly necessary to inform the reader that 
this Church was named after Mrs. Elizabeth Russell, 

^'Methodism in Tennessee," Vol. II., p. 343. 


sister to Patrick Henry, honorable mention of whom 
was made in Volume I. of this work. 

I have in my possession a letter written by the Rev. 
James W. Dickey, and addressed to the Rev. George 
E. Naff, informing him of" the death of his grand- 
father. He died at the residence of Dr. Milton Y. 
Heiskell, in Abingdon, Va., August 2, 1856. He came 
to Dr. Heiskell's a few days before in feeble health, 
but seemed to be improving all the time, and on the 
day of his death to be decidedly better. His death 
was sudden, probably occasioned by apoplexy. For 
his last two or three days he joined heartily in family 
worship, though unable to lead. Dr. Heiskell and 
wife were always great favorites with Father Ekin ; 
he was always easily pleased by them, and especially 
so on this visit. He desired them to be at no trouble 
on his account. Every day and every time when he 
was spoken to as to how he felt, he would give thanks 
to God that he felt better and felt God to be with 
him. The day after his death his funeral sermon was 
preached by Rev. William P. Bishop, and his remains 
were interred by the side of those of Father Wilkerson 
at the rear of the old Methodist Church in Abingdon. 
A short time after his burial his grandson, the Rev. 
George E. Naff, exhumed his remains and reinterred 
them in the graveyard of Uriel church, of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, South, some four miles south 
of Jonesboro, where his wife and the Rev. George 
Ekin, his son, had been buried, and where since that 
the Rev. G. E. Naff and wife have been buried. 



(The figures denote the pages on 

Admissions on trial, 74, 77, 
81, 114, 119, 125, 167, 170, 
193, 205, 220, 245, 251, 257, 
273, 287, 291, 34i. 

Anderson, Dr. James C, 405. 

Anderson, Jane, 392. 

Anderson, Lewis, 198. 

Antislavery men and aboli- 
tionists — a distinction, 432. 

Antislavery triumph, 243. 

Appointments in Holston, 75, 
78, 81, 114, 119, 125, 149, 
168, 171, 194, 205, 220, 246, 
252, 258, 273, 288, 292, 341, 

Asbury, Bishop, 14; reproves 
a rowdy, 22; refuses the 
devil's tea, 23; advice to 
Jacob Young, 24; at Grif- 
fith's, Ky., 74; at Stubble- 
field's, 75; at Page's Meet- 
inghouse, 78; at Widow 
Russell's, 78; part> with 
his watch, 79; preaches a 
memorial sermon on What- 
coat, 79; lost near Killian's, 
79; on Turkey Creek, N. 
C, 79; at Edney's, 80; at 
Buncombe C. H., 116; at 
Vanpelt's, 122; in Bun- 
combe, 126; a ubiquitous 
Invalid, 149; last visit to 

which subjects are introduced.) 

the West, 203; death, 220; 
sketch of, 220-225. 

Asbury College, 274. 

Asbury, Daniel, 235-239. 

Ashworth, Moses, 193. 

Axley, James, 304; admitted, 
305 ; birth and parentage, 
305 ; Mrs. Johnston's story 
of him, 307-310; courtship, 
310; N. H. Lee's mention 
of him, 310; builder of first 
Methodist church west of 
the Mississippi, 312; hatred 
of slavery, 312; sermon on 
the abominations, 313-316; 
complaint of Benjamin 
Edge, 316-319; escaped a 
whipping, 319; meets with 
Bishop Morris, 320, 321 ; 
temperance sermon, 321- 
324; Cartwright's anecdote, 
324; reproves Judge White, 
325-328 ; McAnally's char- 
acterization of, 328; notable 
sermon at Cedar Springs, 
329; as an orator, 330; a 
love feast talker, 330; 
power of song, 331 ; prayer 
of faith, 322-333; location, 
333; faults, 333-335; diffi- 
culty with a drunken man, 
336; reproves a distiller, 
336) sickness and death, 
336, 337- 




Ball interrupted by Granade, 

Ballinger, 23. 

Barnard, Hezekiah, 123. 

Barnett, William Reagan, 38. 

Barton's Creek, 9. 

Bascom, 254. 

Bell, Samuel, 346. 

Bethel Academy, 274. 

Bewley, Anthony, 285. 

Big Four, 150-155. 

Bird, Richard, 194. 

Black, Moses, 76, 142. 

Blackman, Learner, 128-135 ; 
meets Granade, 130; tragic 
death, 135 ; a chaplain in 
Jackson's Division, 132; 
described, 133. 

Blackman, Mrs., 134. 

Blount, Governor, 347. 

Blount College, 348. 

Bluestone, 28. 

Boehm, Henry, 120. 

Bond, J. W., 194. 

Bowman, Elisha, 84, 172-174. 

Bowman, John, 393-401. 

Branch, Peter I., 361. 

Branch, Walter, 361. 

Brown, John, 179. 

Bruce, Joshua, 151. 

Burke, William, 4. 

Burum, Peter, 253. 

Campbell, Mary, 360. 
Camp Grounds in Giles 

County, Va., 124. 
Carr, Daniel H., 16. 
Carr, John, 16. 
Caspar, Joseph, 31. 

Casteel, John, 254. 
Catechetical instruction of 

children, 250. 
Cecil, John G., 151. 
Centre Meetinghouse, 34. 
Charles, James, 150. 
Chestua Society, 340. 
Chreitzberg, A. M., 176. 
Clear Creek Camp Ground, 

276, 293. 
Cleveland Cemetery, 385. 
Clark, Mrs. Millie, 108. 
Cloud, C. W., 84. 
Cobb, Mrs., 105. 
Coke, Dr., sketch of, 205-208. 
Coke, Thomas, LL.D., me- 
morial sermon of, 205. 
Colored preachers, three, 378- 

Conference of 1805, 74; 1806, 

77; 1807, 80; 1808, 115; 

1809, 118; 1810, 124; 181 1, 

Conference, Western, divided, 

Conference, Tennessee, 1812, 

166; 1813, 169; 1814, 192; 

1815, 202; 1816, 219; 1817, 

240; 1818, 249; 1819, 252; 

1820, 271 ; 1821, 285 ; 1822, 

289; 1823, 338; 1824, 338. 
Conference, Holston, set off, 

Conference, Holston, first 

session, 1824, 345. 
Conference, first delegated 

General, 150. 
Conference, General, 1820, 




Conference Seminary, 274. 

Conference, Tennessee, di- 
vided, 342. 

Crab Orchard, 126. 

Crabtree, Job, 155. 

Crane, John, 95-97. 

Craven, Roberts, 417, 419. 

Cross, Mrs. Jane T. H., 277. 

Cryer, Hardy M., 245. 

Cumberland Circuit, 171. 

Cunnyngham, Arabella, 402. 

Cunnyngham, Charlotte, 403. 

Cunnyngham, James, 403. 

Cunnyngham, Jesse, 401-414. 

Cunnyngham, Mrs. Mary, 

Cunnyngham, William, 404. 

Cunnyngham, W. G. E., 413. 

Dandridge, prelates at, 168. 

Daughtry, Josiah, 384. 

Decrease in 1812, 169. 

Delegates to first delegated 
General Conference, 150. 

Delegates to General Confer- 
ence, 1816, 218. 

Delegates to General Confer- 
ence, 1820, 258. 

Dever, John, 376. 

Dickenson, Henry, 27. 

Doniphan, Alexander, 158. 

Douglass, Thomas L., 32, 34. 

Douthit, Isaac, 2>7- 

Douthit, James, 32, 38. 

Douthit, Samuel, 21, 36. 

>Douthit, William, 38. 

Dow, Lorenzo, his birth, 39; 
rejected by New England 
Conference, 39, 40; ad- 

mitted into Conference, 40; 
Stevens's estimate of, 41 ; 
on Essex Circuit, 42; goes 
to Europe, 42; appointed 
to Duchess and Columbia 
Circuit, 42 ; goes to Georgia, 
42; dropped from the roll 
of the Conference, 42; in 
Knoxville, 43, 47; first 
Protestant preacher in Ala- 
bama and Louisiana, 43 ; in 
Buncombe County, N. C, 
45 ; in Newport, 45 ; first 
sight of the jerks, 46; in 
Sevierville, 46; in Mary- 
ville, 46; among the Quak- 
ers, 47; his opinion of the 
jerks, 48; in Greeneville, 
49; in Abingdon, 50; in 
Southwest Virginia, 50 ; 
his popularity, 50; at Mr. 
Pogue's, 51 ; illustrates fall- 
ing from grace, 52; the 
woman with a red shawl, 
52; his courtship, 52; at 
Reisterstown, Md., 54; in 
Brookville, Ind., 55; in 
Covington, Ky., 57; Gabriel 
with his horn, 57; a de- 
scription of the man, 58; 
an estimate of, 59; Dr. 
West's estimate of, 60; Dr. 
George Smith's mention of, 
63; Jones's estimate of, 65- 
69; with Jacob Young, 70; 
Colbert's mention of, 70; 
professes sanctification, 71. 

Dow and Snethen, 73. 

Dreams and Visions, 412, 

45 6 


Earnest, Felix, 14- 

Easley's, 16. 

East Tennessee College, 348. 

Edge, Benjamin, 265. 

Edney, Levin, 212. 

Edney's, Samuel, Asbury at, 

Ekin, George, 421 ; conver- 
sion, 422; "Land or no 
land," 423; comes to Amer- 
ica, 423 ; Church letter, 424 ; 
license to preach in Ameri- 
ca, 424; admitted into Con- 
ference, 425 ; authority to 
celebrate the rites of matri- 
mony, 427; naturalization 
papers, 427; great success 
in receiving members, 428; 
phenomenal success on Nol- 
lichucky Circuit, 429, 430; 
troubles at Baker's Chapel, 
431 ; opposed to separation, 
433; letter to G. E. Naff, 
433; letters from Hutsell, 
434, 435; letter from St. 
Clair, 435; adroit letter 
from William Hicks, 437; 
characterized, 438; a Demo- 
crat, 439 ; anecdotes of, 440- 
447; mentioned by William 
Garrett, 448 ; temperance 
speech in Knoxville, 448; 
McFerrin's opinion of, 448; 
letter from Hon. W. C. 
Preston, 449; death and 
burial, 450. 

Elgin, William B., 166, 182 

Elk Garden, 27. 

Ellington, William, 83. 
Ellis, Richard, 198. 
Elliston, Joseph T., 135. 
Etter, Miss Mary, 413. 
Evans, J., 195. 

Findlay, Alexander, 361. 

Findlay, Rachel, 361. 

First newspaper in Tennessee, 

First session of Holston Con- 
ference, 349. 

Fisher, Absalom, 436. 

Fletcher's, 81. 

Floyd, Moses, 14. 

Ford, John S., 258. 

Free gospel, 86. 

Frye, Christopher, 150. 

Garrett, Grey, 202. 

Garrett, Lewis, 202. 

Garrett, Lewis, Sr., 202. 

Garrett, William, 161-165, 

Garrett, Mrs. William, 162. 

Garrett, Hon. William, 202. 

Garrisons, 27. 

Gazette, Knoxville, 346. 

General Conference, 1808, 113. 

George, Enoch, 219: 

Gibson, Esquire, 25. 

Gilliland, Abel, 199-201. 

Gilliland, James, 199. 

Granade, John Adam, 1; an- 
cestry, 2; conversion, 8; 
lost in the mountains, 12; 
baptized, 13; admitted into 
Conference, 14; on Greene 
Circuit, 15; on Holston 
Circuit, 15; takes the Se- 
viers into the Church, 16 • 



preaches in Jonesboro, 16; 
on New River Circuit, 16; 
locates, 17; studies medi- 
cine, 17; marries, 17; death, 
17; assumes the role of 
prophet, 18. 

Graves, W. C, 282. 

Gray, Col. Thomas, 198. 

Green, A. L. P., 35. 

Green, Jesse, 369-376. 

Green Hill, 115. 

Hailey, 126. 
Hargrove, Dudley, 253. 
Harper, Miles, 136-139. 
Harris, Absalom, 298. 
Harrison, Wesley, 198-201. 
Harwell, Samuel B., 368. 
Haskew, Joseph, 361. 
Hawkins County, 347. 
Hayes, James and Dorcas, 

Haynie, John, 276-281. 
Heliums, Thomas, 185. 
Henninger, John, 382-391. 
Henninger, Smith's sketch of, 


Henninger, Mrs., and pos- 
terity, 391-393. 

Hicks, William, 433. 

Higginbotham's, 27. 

Hill, Rev. Green, 7. 

Howard, C. L., 37. 

Howell, James, 419. 

Hughes, J. W., 274. 

Increase in Tennessee Con- 
ference, 168. 

Jackson, Arthur, 38. 
Jackson, George W., 38. 


Jackson, Jonathan, 175-177. 
Jackson's purchase, 274. 
Jarratt, Nathan, 20. 
Johnson, Adam C, 306. 
Johnson, John, 47. 

Kennerly's Chapel, 195. 

Kentucky Conference, 271. 

Killian's, Asbury at, 169. 

King, Col. James, 106. 

King, James, 141. 

King, Rev. James, 106. 

King, William, 361. 

Kingston, 347. 

Knox County, 347. 

Knox, Fort, 106. 

Knox, Maj. Gen. Henry, 347. 

Knoxville, sketch of, 347 ; the 
first church in, 348; first 
settlers, 349; in 1824, 349; 
a case of longevity, 350, 351. 

Lambuth, William, 7. 
Lasley, Thomas, 83, 85. 
Lebanon Circuit, 33. 
Lewis, Amos, 407. 
Liberty Hill, 122. 
Light, George C, 92-95- 
Ligsell, 28. 

Lindsey, Isaac, 139-141. 
Lindsey, Marcus, 271. 
Litchfield, George V., 360. 
"Little Holston," 431. 
Local Ministry, 195-197. 
Local Preacher Conferences, 

Local preachers, increase in, 

Locke, George, 294-296. 
Lotspeich, Ralph, 90-92. 
Lynn, 26. 



Maddin, Thomas, 366-368. 
Mahanaim, 79. 
Marshall, C. K., 94- 
Marshall's Ford, 122. 
Mary Mitchell, 405. 
Mary's Meadows, 361. 
McCloud, Caleb, 135- 
McClure, Arthur, 377. 
McGee, Miss Frances, 33. 
McGee, John, 4, 126, 403. 
McGee, William, 7. 
McKendree, William, 14, 126. 
McTeer, John M., 358. 
Membership of the connection 

in 1815, 203. 
Menefee, John, 233-235. 
Miller, Charles, 419. 
Milligan, Thomas, 28, 126-128. 
Missionary Society in Hol- 

ston, first step, 274. 
Mississippi Conference set off, 

Missouri Conference set off, 

Mitchell' John D., 360. 
Mitchell, Morris, 405. 
Mitchell, Rachel D., 360. 
Mitchell, Rebecca, 406. 
Mitchell, Rhoda, 405. 
Mitchell, Zechariah, 151, 261- 

Moccasin Gap, 25. 
Montgomery, E. C, 406. 
Moore, Jephthah, 28. 
Moore, Mark, 116. 
Morelock Place, 122. 
Morgan, Rachel, 360. 
Morris, Bishop, 31. 
Morris, Widow, 236. 
Morristown, 122. 

Mountain, Lookout, 419. 
. Muddy Creek Camp Ground, 

Murfreesboro, 347. 

Nashville, 347. 
Nashville in 1808, 114. 
Neal, Henry C, 37, 360. 
Neilson, William, 76. 
Nelson, William, 79. 
New era in Holston, 381. 
New River Circuit, 17. 
Newberry, Samuel, 15T. 
Newton, 45, 81. 
Nicewander's Meetinghouse, 


Nicholites, 47. 

Nixon, Thomas, 232, 233. 

Numbers in society in Hol- 
ston, 74, 77, 80, 113, 119, 
125, 147, 167, 169, 192, 204, 
219, 246, 251, 257, 272, 287, 

290, 33& 
Numbers in the connection in 
1818, 203. 

Oak Grove, 404. 
Odell, Samuel, 298. 
O'Haver's, 116. 
Overall, Nace, 193. 

Page, 9. 

Paine, Selah, 228. 
Pattison, William, 84. 
Patton, James, 123. 
Paynter, James, 150. 
Peck, Judge Jacob, 297. 
Peck, Looney, 298. 
Peck, Wiley B., 297. 
Peeples, Benjamin, 267. 
Pigeon River, 14. 



Pigeon River, Asbury on, 169. 
Pine Chapel, 294. 
Piper, Col. James, 358. 
Pirtle, Judge, 386. 
Porter, Thomas D., 259. 
Powell's Valley, its inhabit- 
ants, 24. 
Price, John W., 156. 
Price, Mrs. Priscilla, 156. 
Price, Richard, 27. 
Prosperity in Holston, 1818- 

19, 257. 
Protest of conservative mi- 
nority, 253. 

Quarterly Conference of 
French Broad Circuit on 
slavery, 254-256. 

Quinn, Isaac, 266. 

Quinn, Rev. James, 27. 

Raghill, Richard, 254. 
Rankin, Rev. John, 7. 
Ray, Mrs. Mary, 107. 
Read's Chapel, 122. 
Reagan, James A., 38. 
Red House, 349. 
Restoration, 4. 
Revival of 1820, 2^2. 
Revival power in 181 1, 147. 
Rhoton, John F., 298. 
Rhoton, Josiah, 364. 
Richards, Richard, 229-231. 
Richardson, Jesse, 116, 300- 

Roberts, Robert R., elected 

bishop, 219. 
Robertson, Wyndham, 261. 
Rockhold, Charles, 352. 
Rockhold, Mrs. Mary, 352. 

Rockhold, Thomas, 352. 
Rockhold, William, 353. 
Rogers, William Hurd, 38. 
Roulstone, George, 346. 
Russell, C. H., 26. 
Rutherford's, 195. 
Rye Cove, 25. 

Saltville Circuit, 120. 

Science Hill Academy, 366. 

Seahorn, J. Ponder and Dor- 
cas, 405. 

Sellers, Samuel, 186, 189, 190. 

Senter, Anthony, 144. 

Sewell, James, 387. 

Sevier, E. F., 433. 

Slavery question, 115, 209, 
210, 212, 213, 240-243, 253. 

Smith, Capt. Francis, 359. 

Smith, Mary, 360. 

Smyth, Gen. Alexander, 357. 

Smyth, Frances, 356. 

Snethen, Nicholas, 14. 

Soule, Joshua, elected bishop, 

Southwest Point, 115. 

Spann, W., 195. 

Stanton, P. L., 38. 

Stevens, R. M., 388. 

Stier, Frederick, 184. 

Stone Dam Camp Ground, 

Strawberry Plains, 106. 

Stringency in money matters 
in 1816, 227. 

Stubblefield Brothers, 76. 

Stubblefield, Martin, 81. 

Sullins, Nathan, 406. 

Sulphur Spring Camp Ground, 



Swannanoa, 33. 
Swapping circuits, 286. 

T alley, Nicholas, 231. 
Taylor, Gilbert, 253. 
Taylor, Parmenas, 404. 
Taylor's Bend, 402. 
Tazewell C. H., 27. 
Tennessee Conference divided 

in 1816, 219. 
Tevis, John, 353-357- 
Tevis, Mrs. Julia Ann, 357- 

Thomasson, John, 340. 
Thomasson, Mrs. Millie, 247, 

Thompson, Samuel H., 180. 
Transfiguration, 143. 
Travis, John, 227. 
Travis, Joseph, 32. 
Trigg, Elizabeth, 360. 
Trigg, Mrs. Joseph, 361. 
Trower, Thomas, 177-179. 
Turner, Allen, 260. 
Turnley, George, 403. 
Turnley, John C, 404. 
Turnley, William, 194. 

CJniversalists, 4. 
University, East Tennessee, 

University Hill, 348. 

Warm Springs, 116. 
War with England, 208. 
Washam, Robert, 352. 
Watauga Circuit, 120. 
Watkins, Micajah, 106. 

Watson, Jacob, 21. 
Watson, Joab, 83. 
Watson, John, 21, 28, 82. 
Wesleyan Female Society of 

Jonesboro, 343. 
West Point, 14. 
Whatcoat, sketch of, 86-90. 
White, Hugh Lawson, 279. 
White, Col. James, 346. 
Whitten, 27, 28. 
Wild Man, 15. 
Wilkerson, Thomas, 98-112. 
Williams, Mrs., 105. 
Williams, William, 106. 
Winton, George B., 405. 
Winton, George M., 405. 
Winton, James, 405. 
Winton, John, 404-406. 
Winton, John A., 406. 
Winton, William, 405. 
Winton, W. H., 406. 
Winton, Wiley B., 405. 
Winton's, 115. 
Witten family, 191. 
Witten, Zachariah, I90. 
Woman's Missionary Advo- 
cate, 344. 
Woman's work, 343. 
Wrather, Baker, 181. 
Wynn, Miss Polly, 17. 
Wynn, Robert W., 155-160. 
Wynn, Thomas L., 296. 

Young, 27. 
Young, Benjamin,- 9. 
Young, Jacob, 20, 29, 30, 31. 
Young on Clinch Circuit, 21. 
Young, Robert A., 406. 
Young, William, 141.